The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy announced on October 24 that South Korea’s material and component exports for the first nine months of this year totaled US$208.9 billion and the sector posted a trade surplus of US$83.5 billion during the same period. The exports increased 12.5% from a year ago. In the third quarter, the exports reached an all-time high of US$74.7 billion.
The ratios of the exports to the United States and China decreased whereas those to the ASEAN region and Europe increased during the period.
Specifically, transport machinery exports to China fell with a decline in the number of vehicles South Korean companies manufactured in China. However, the overall material and component exports to China showed a year-on-year growth of 5% as chemical product and electronic component exports increased. The total material and component exports to the United States rose 5.9%, too.
Those to the ASEAN region increased 23.6% as more and more South Korean electronics manufacturers entered the Vietnamese and surrounding markets. Those to Latin America rose 21.7% based on an increase in the export of electronic and transport machinery components.
Transport and electrical machinery component exports showed a year-on-year growth of negative 4.6% and negative 23.1%, respectively. On the other hand, electronic component and chemical product exports increased by 27.7% and 18.9%. The former resulted from an increase in semiconductor demand and rising memory chip prices. The latter benefitted from a rise in unit price resulting from an increase in oil price and an increase in production capacity based on facility expansion in South Korea. Primary metal exports to major destinations, in the meantime, grew with the unit prices of raw materials such as iron ore on the rise.
During the three quarters, South Korea’s material and component imports increased 11.1% from a year earlier to US$125.4 billion. The trade surplus increased by US$10.76 billion year on year.