ICT exports rise for 5th straight month in March on strong chip demand

April 15, 2024

South Korea’s exports of information and communication technology (ICT) products gained ground for the fifth consecutive month in March, driven by a yearly high performance of semiconductors, data showed Monday.

Outbound shipments of ICT products came to US$18.8 billion last month, up 19.4 percent from $15.8 billion a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The country’s ICT imports decreased 1.2 percent on-year to $11.7 billion in March, resulting in a trade surplus of $7.1 billion in the sector.

By item, chip exports jumped 33.9 percent on-year to $11.7 billion last month, the highest since June 2022, as global chip demand increased thanks to the growth of the artificial intelligence market and the recovery of IT device sales.

It was the fifth straight month the chip export tally posted a double-digit increase.

In detail, exports of memory chips made big gains as the average quarterly price of 8-gigabit DRAM rose for the second consecutive quarter in the January-March period and the demand increased for high-value products like high-bandwidth memory chips.

Overseas sales of displays climbed 13 percent to $1.62 billion, posting a double-digit increase for the second straight month, thanks to higher demand for organic light-emitting diodes and liquid-crystal display panels for televisions and personal computers.

Exports of computers and peripherals advanced 20.3 percent to $1.02 billion, marking the third consecutive month of increase, driven by higher demand for solid state drives.

Outbound shipments of mobile phones also gained 6.6 percent to $880 million, but exports of communications equipment dropped 7.1 percent to $220 million.

By nation, combined shipments to China and Hong Kong surged 32.5 percent on-year to $8.38 billion last month, logging a gain for the fifth consecutive month, mainly thanks to an increase in semiconductor and display exports.

Exports to Vietnam went up 6.7 percent to $2.99 billion on higher demand for semiconductors and displays, and exports to the United States expanded 22.8 percent to $2.33 billion with stronger demand for semiconductors and computers.

Exports to the European Union grew 10.5 percent to 1.09 billion, marking a turnaround from a 0.5 percent decrease in February, on chips and mobile phones.

Outbound shipments to Japan, however, slid 25 percent to $310 million due to weak chip sales.