Exports gain 11 pct from March 1-20 on robust chip sales

March 22, 2024

South Korea’s exports rose 11.2 percent on-year in the first 20 days of March on surging global demand for semiconductors, data showed Thursday.

Outbound shipments reached US$34.13 billion in the March 1-20 period, compared with $30.69 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Per-day exports also advanced 11.2 percent on-year to $2.35 billion.

Imports fell 6.3 percent on-year to $34.84 billion during the first 20 days of March, resulting in a trade surplus of $700 million.

Exports, a key economic growth engine, have been on a solid recovery track since late last year after a yearlong downturn.

In February, exports advanced 4.8 percent on-year to $52.4 billion, the fifth consecutive monthly gain, on the back of strong demand for semiconductors.

The export growth was led by sales of semiconductors, a key export item.

Chip exports jumped 46.5 percent to $6.34 billion from March 1-20.

Semiconductor exports accounted for 18.6 percent of the country’s total exports during the cited period, up 4.5 percentage points from a year earlier amid an industry cycle upturn.

Exports of vessels spiked 370.8 percent on-year to $1.27 billion.

Sales of steel products and automotive parts also rose 1.5 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

But auto exports fell 7.7 percent on-year to $3.18 billion, and petroleum products also saw exports down 1.1 percent to $2.82 billion.

By nation, shipments to China, the No. 1 trading partner, went up 7.5 percent to $6.64 billion, and those to the United States advanced 18.2 percent to $6.61 billion.

Exports to the European Union added 4.9 percent to $3.66 billion, and those to Vietnam climbed 16.6 percent to $3.12 billion. Shipments to Hong Kong spiked 94.9 percent to $1.46 billion.

But exports to Japan lost 6.8 percent to $1.33 billion.

The government expected exports to advance 8.5 percent this year to reach a record high of over $700 billion.