Korea’s information and communication technology (ICT) exports have been renewing the all-time high record for 12 consecutive months.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, ICT exports provisionally amounted to US$17.7 billion and ICT imports to US$9.33 billion in January. Exports hit an all time January high, up 28.1 percent from a year earlier. As a result, ICT exports have renewed the highest monthly export record for 12 months since February of last year.
By item, semiconductor exports reached an overwhelming level. Semiconductor exports last month were US$9.86 billion, up 53.8 percent from the same month of last year. Among them, memory semiconductor exports surged 67.7 percent to US$6.85 billion, proving the status of Korea as the number one semiconductor powerhouse in the world. System semiconductors also leaped up 25.3 percent year on year to US$2.31 billion. Computer and peripheral exports swelled 38.2 percent to US$930 million, while exports of auxiliary storage devices including solid state drives (SSDs), rose 78.1 percent to US$600 million.
Mobile phone exports shrank to US$ 1.39 billion, down 8.3 percent from a year earlier. However, their double-digit decline since September last year (-16.7%) improved to a single digit one. Exports of camera modules and other parts grew 4.1 percent, slightly offsetting sluggish exports of finished products, the ministry said.
However, display exports added up to US$2.29 billion, down 5.9 percent from a year earlier due to intensifying competition with China. This drop marked the second consecutive month of a decline since last December (-9.7 percent). Exports of organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels spiked 17.2 percent to US$700 million. Exports of parts and components increased 11.0 percent to US$320 million while LCD panel exports slid 17.9% to US$1.27 billion due to a drop in prices.
By region, exports to China were up 29.2 percent, exports to Vietnam 86.1 percent, exports to the United States 6.4 percent and exports to the European Union 5.6 percent.
ICT imports also continued to go up. ICT imports in January hit US$9.33 billion, up 19.6 percent from a year earlier, chalking up growth for 15 months running. Accordingly, the trade balance of January was a surplus of US$8.33 billion but the surplus fell by US$390 million from the previous month.