The Korea Herald


Exports gain 11.1% from April 1-20 on robust chip sales

By Yonhap

Published : April 22, 2024 - 09:16

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A port in South Korea's southeastern city of Busan on April 1, 2024 (Yonhap) A port in South Korea's southeastern city of Busan on April 1, 2024 (Yonhap)

South Korea's exports rose 11.1 percent on-year in the first 20 days of April on surging global demand for semiconductors, data showed Monday.

Outbound shipments reached $35.82 billion in the April 1-20 period, compared with $32.25 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Per-day exports also advanced 11.1 percent on-year to $2.31 billion.

Imports grew 6.1 percent on-year to $38.5 billion during the first 20 days of April, resulting in a trade deficit of $2.6 billion.

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

In March, exports advanced 3.1 percent on-year to $52.2 billion, the sixth consecutive monthly gain, on the back of strong demand for semiconductors.

April's export growth was led by strong sales of semiconductors, a key export item.

Chip exports jumped 43 percent to $5.85 billion from April 1-20.

Semiconductor exports accounted for 16.3 percent of the country's total exports during the cited period, up 3.6 percentage points from a year earlier amid an industry cycle upturn.

Auto exports climbed 12.8 percent on-year to $3.93 billion, and petroleum products saw exports rise 14.8 percent to $2.81 billion.

But steel exports shed 2.5 percent to $2.64 billion, and sales of automotive parts inched down 0.9 percent to $1.23 billion.

Exports of vessels tumbled 16.7 percent on-year to $1.11 billion.

By nation, exports to the United States soared 22.8 percent to $7.23 billion.

Shipments to China rose 9 percent to $6.87 billion, and those to Hong Kong spiked 63.6 percent to $1.45 billion.

Exports to Vietnam went up 26.6 percent to $3.12 billion and those to Japan increased 22.1 percent to $1.75 billion.

But exports to the European Union slid 14.2 percent to $3.54 billion.

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

The overall import growth came as oil imports soared 43 percent on-year to $6.13 billion amid high global oil prices.

Dubai crude, the country's benchmark, reached $89.56 from April 1-20, up $4.14 from a year earlier.

The price has been on a constant rise in recent months from $78.85 in January to $80.88 in February and $84.18 in March amid escalating tensions in the Middle East and other geopolitical uncertainties.

"We are expected to achieve on-year exports growth for the seventh month in a row in April and to see a trade surplus. The government will put priority on risk management to minimize possible impacts of the recent crisis in the Middle East on our exports," an industry ministry official said.

South Korea had logged a monthly trade surplus for the 10th consecutive month through March. (Yonhap)