The Korea Herald


Average daily exports hit record-high in February

Growth also seen in shipments to Ukraine, Russia

By Kim Yon-se

Published : March 1, 2022 - 15:20

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A view of container terminal at Busan Harbor as of Feb. 11 (Yonhap) A view of container terminal at Busan Harbor as of Feb. 11 (Yonhap)
SEJONG -- The nation’s average exports a day reached an all-time high in February despite deepening market and geopolitical uncertainty, involving high raw materials prices worldwide and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, state data showed Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, South Korea’s average daily exports recorded $2.69 billion last month, up 17.6 percent, compared to $2.29 billion posted a year earlier.

This marked the highest since the nation started compiling relevant data by outstripping the former high of $2.66 billion, posted in September 2021.

The ministry said that “the record-high daily average in outbound shipments has brought about a trade surplus in February, despite a large volume of imports.” Korea recorded a trade deficit for two consecutive months in December 2021 and January 2022.

Total exports for February came to $53.9 billion, up 20.6 percent on-year, while imports increased by 25.1 percent to $53 billion. The trade balance went into the back with a surplus reaching $840 million.

Exports increased for the 16th consecutive month on an on-year basis. Further, the figures recorded double-digit growth for the 12th consecutive month starting from March 2021.

The double-digit growth for 12 consecutive months or more was the first time in a decade since the growth recorded between 2009 and 2011, the period after the 2008 global financial crisis.

The brisk shipments last month were led by major items such as semiconductors, computers, TV displays, home appliances, steel, petrochemicals, petroleum products and bio-health. “Excluding auto parts, 14 of the 15 major export-oriented items posted growth,” said the ministry.

A 44.5 percent growth was posted in exports of computers, 40.1 percent in steel, 24.7 percent in petrochemicals, 24.7 percent in bio-health, 24 percent in semiconductors and 10.3 percent in storage batteries.

The robust performance could be seen not only in items, but also in export destinations.

Shipments to China, Korea’s largest export destination, increased by 16 percent on-year. Exports to the Association of South-East Asian Nations and the United States climbed by 38.4 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively.

Figures for the European Union and Japan, Korea’s fourth and fifth largest destinations, also rose by 8.6 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively.

In addition, an 18.1 percent growth was seen in shipments to South and Central Americas, 4.9 percent to India, and 30.4 percent to the Middle East.

Exports to Ukraine and Russia also increased by 21.2 percent and 48.8 percent, respectively, in February. There is a high possibility that figures for the two countries will plunge in March in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.

As a noteworthy case, a 112 percent growth was posted in exports of mobile telecommunication devices to China, 257 percent in exports of petrochemicals products to ASEAN and 21.9 percent in exports of home appliances.

Industry Minister Moon Sung-wook said the figures for February has confirmed competitiveness of the nation’s core industries and robust fundamentals in the export sector.

He said the ministry “would concentrate on supports (for export-oriented firms) during the first half in a bid to minimize impacts of external factors including the Ukraine conflict.”

By Kim Yon-se (