South Korea's exports and the trade surplus of industrial materials and parts reached a record high in the first half this year.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on July 8, the exports of industrial materials and parts amounted to US$134.3 billion (152.66 trillion won), up 0.5 percent from the same period last year. The country's trade surplus in the industrial materials and parts sector reached US$53.3 billion (60.59 trillion won), as imports slipped 2.6 percent year-on-year to US$80.9 billion (91.96 trillion won). The figures are a record high in both exports and trade surplus. Accordingly, the exports of the sector has gradually increased from 2011, accounting for 50 percent of the country's overall exports in the first half this year.
The increase in exports of industrial materials and parts is especially meaningful, as it comes amid a drop in the country's overall exports, as well as a global economic downturn, low global oil prices, and the weak yen.
In the second half of the year, the country is expected to face many external uncertainties such as a cut in China’s imports, reconsideration of the U.S. for quantitative easing, and economic and political instability in Europe. However, the country's trade surplus in the materials and parts sector will easily breach the US$100-billion (113.67 trillion won) mark for the second consecutive year.
The exports of parts grew 4.7 percent, while the exports of materials dropped 8.2 percent.
For exports by item, the figure of non-metallic minerals increased by 29 percent to US$1.1 billion (1.25 trillion won), computer and office machine parts by 28.2 percent to US$2.6 billion (2.96 trillion won), electronic components by 8 percent to US$47.1 billion (53.54 trillion won), and electric machine components by 6.6 percent to US$12.3 billion (13.98 trillion won). However, the exports of compound and chemical products decreased by 12.9 percent to US$19.7 billion (22.39 trillion won), textile products by 11.7 percent to US$2.2 billion (2.5 trillion won), rubber and plastic products by 7.5 percent to US$4.5 billion (5.12 trillion won), and precision machinery components by 4.9 percent to US$2.7 billion (3.07 trillion won). These sectors are struggling due to oversupply in the global market and the lower prices of raw materials.
For imports by item, the figures for electronic components increased by 5.3 percent to US$24.4 billion (27.74 trillion won), precision machinery components by 2.8 percent to US$2.9 billion (3.3 trillion won), and electric machine components by 1.2 percent to US$7.2 billion (8.18 trillion). However, the figure of rubber and plastic products decreased by 11 percent to US$2 billion (2.27 trillion won), primary metals by 10.8 percent to US$11.9 billion (13.53 trillion won), fabricated metal 10.6 percent to US$1.1 billion (1.25 trillion won), and nonmetallic minerals by 9.5 percent to US$1.6 billion (1.82 trillion won), all showing a big drop.