Thanks to strong shipments of semiconductors and shipbuilding, exports recorded double-digit growth for the sixth consecutive month. Analysts say that exports are out of the woods and in a full recovery stage. The government has become optimistic that Korea will recover to US$1 trillion in trade in three years as a whole.
According to the “June Imports and Exports” released by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy on July 2, exports in June amounted to US$51.4 billion, up 13.7 percent from the same period last year and are the second highest figure among June export figures in history. June exports also chalked up the sixth month continuous double digit growth and a growth for eight straight months.
Daily average exports grew by 13.7% for seven consecutive months. Export volume swelled for two months and the export unit price increased for seven months in a row.
The green light on exports was attributed to strong performances of 13 main products. By product category, exports were driven up by semiconductors (52.0 percent) ships (43.2 percent), petrochemicals (15.6 percent), general machinery (14.3 percent), displays (10.0 percent), petroleum products (7.4 percent), computers (2.7 percent), automobiles (1.3 percent) and steel (1.1 percent).
Among them, semiconductors posted a record-high export figure in one month and an increase in exports for nine months running due to stable memory prices and strong demand for memories, in particular, PC and server memories. Semiconductor exports totaled US$8.03 billion.
The display showed double-digit growth for seven consecutive months due to demand for organic light emitting diodes (OLED) and rising prices of LCD panels. The expansion of production capacity and the rise in export unit prices led to an increase in petrochemical production capacity.
The shipbuilding industry, which exported 26 vessels including three high-value-added offshore plants, posted US$7.327 billion, a record high, in exports.
In the meantime, the export of wireless communication equipment (-35.9%), household appliances (-25.7%) and auto parts (-12.6%) was sluggish. The ministry analyzed that both increases in overseas plant production and local parts supply contributed to the drops.
Corporate Korea recorded increases in exports of the top five promising consumer goods such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fashion apparel, solid state discs (SSD), and agricultural and fishery products. Among them, SSD exports hit a record high of US$450 million. OLED exports have jumped for 25 consecutive months since June 2015.
In the first half of this year, exports expanded 15.8% compared to the same period of last year, totaling US$279.4 billion. The figure is the fifth highest quarterly export volume ever.