The Korea Herald


Exports extend gains to 8th straight month in May

By Yonhap

Published : June 1, 2024 - 11:33

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South Korea's exports extended on-year gains to the eighth straight month in May on the back of strong shipments of semiconductors, data showed Saturday.

Outbound shipments rose 11.7 percent on-year to $58.1 billion last month, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Imports shed 2 percent on-year to $53.1 billion last month, resulting in a trade surplus of $4.96 billion. South Korea has been maintaining a trade surplus for 12 consecutive months.

It was also the highest trade surplus in 41 months.

By sector, exports of chips jumped 54.5 percent year-on-year to reach $11.38 billion, maintaining growth for seven straight months.

The growth came amid the rising global demand for automotive chips, along with premium memory chips, the ministry said.

Outbound shipments of display products also rose 15.8 percent over the period to $1.63 billion, the highest monthly figure for 2024, tracking the robust performance of the smartphone sector.

Car exports moved up 4.8 percent to $6.49 billion, the highest for any May, following the increased sales of premium eco-friendly cars and SUVs.

Exports of ships more than doubled over the period to $2 billion due to strong global demand for container carriers.

Other major gainers included petroleum, electronics, petrochemical and textile products.

By destination, exports to China came to $11.38 billion, up 7.6 percent from a year earlier, the highest in 19 months.

The growth was led by chips and displays, the ministry added.

Shipments to the United States also moved up on-year for 10 consecutive months, rising 15.6 percent to $10.93 billion, on the back of automobiles, chips and computers.

The demand for high-bandwidth memory chips also rose in the world's top economy following the recovery in the semiconductor industry, the ministry added.

Exports to Southeast Asia improved 21.9 percent on-year in May to $10.19 billion amid the rising demand for electronics in Vietnam.

Outbound shipments decreased 7.4 percent on-year in 2023 amid the sluggish performance of chips coupled with global economic uncertainties.

"It is significant that the country has posted a monthly trade surplus for a year," Industry Minister Ahn Duk-geun said in a statement. "The competitiveness of export-related industries, which is fundamental to the South Korean economy, is being robustly sustained.

"The government will spare no effort to maintain this upward momentum in exports and set new records." (Yonhap)