South Korea's exports grow for 7 months on demand for chips
Staff Writer |
South Korea's exports increased for the seventh consecutive month on solid demand for chips and solid state drive (SSD), a government report showed Thursday.
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Exports, which account for about half of the economy, advanced 13.4 percent from a year earlier to $45 billion in May, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The overseas shipments kept a growth trend for seven months in a row, posting the double-digit increase for five months through May.
The daily exports, which exclude volatile ship orders, averaged 2.03 billion dollars in May, surpassing the 2 billion-dollar mark for the first time since October 2014.
The daily average exports, including ships, also topped 2 billion dollars at 2.14 billion dollars last month.
Imports jumped 18.2 percent to 39 billion dollars, sending the May trade surplus to 6 billion dollars. The trade balance stayed in black for 64 months in a row.
For the first five months of this year, the South Korean economy amassed 228.1 billion dollars in exports, up 16.4 percent from the same period of last year.
During the January-May period, the imports surged 21.4 percent to 193.3 billion dollars compared with the same period of 2016. The trade surplus amounted to 34.9 billion dollars in the cited period.
The brisk exports were attributable to the shipments of semiconductors and SSD, which reached record monthly highs of 7.99 billion dollars and 440 million dollars in May respectively.
The chip exports gained for the eighth consecutive month on stable memory chip prices and strong demand for chips used in smartphones.
Display panel exports increased for seven months in a row due to demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels and higher prices of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.
Steel exports soared more than 30 percent for two months through May on the back of robust demand and high product prices.
Oil product exports rose for seven straight months amid expensive crude oil, while shipments of petrochemicals posted the double-digit expansion for five months in a row.
Shipments of general machinery, automobiles and ships all gained ground, showing signs of global recovery.
Exports of telecommunication devices, including smartphone, posted the double-digit decline for the fifth straight month as local manufacturers increased production in overseas factories.
Home appliance exports declined on soft demand for TVs, with auto parts shipments falling on lower production in overseas factories by local automakers.
By country, exports to China, South Korea's biggest trading partner, increased for seven months through May on the back of demand for locally-made chips, oil products and precision machinery.
Shipments to Japan also maintained the growth trend for seven months in a row, but those to the United States, South Korea's No. 2 trading partner, fell 1.9 percent on weak demand for smartphones, cars and auto parts.
Exports to Vietnam rose for the 16th consecutive month on robust demand for chips, display panels and general machinery, with those to Southeast Asian countries growing more than 30 percent.
Shipments to India also logged a double-digit expansion, and those to the European Union jumped more than 20 percent last month. ■