Korea's ICT exports reached US$19.14 billion in March, the second highest record in history. Semiconductors, computers and peripherals led the boom, while mobile phones and displays were sluggish.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Science and ICT announced on April 18 that ICT exports amounted to US$19.14 billion and imports totaled US$9.06 billion in March.
Exports rose 18.6 percent from the same month of last year, recording the second highest monthly increase since US$19.25 billion in September of last year. Korea has been chalking up the double-digit monthly growth of ICT exports for 16 consecutive months since December 2016.
By item, exports of semiconductors leaped up 44.3% to US$10.98 billion. Exports of memory semiconductors alone reached US$8.04 billion, up 63.0 percent. DRAM exports arrived at US$ 3.62 billion, up 80.6%, and NAND flash exports stood at US$710 million, up 111.5%.
Shipments of computer peripherals also rose 61.1 percent to US$1.1 billion. In particular, exports of solid state drives (SSDs) surged 90.6 percent to US$680 million, taking the lead in scaling up exports of computer peripherals.
In contrast, display sales declined 14.7% YoY to US$2.2 billion due to competition with LCD panel market in China. Exports of organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels gained 1.7%, slightly recovering from the slump in the previous month, but LCD exports sank 24.3%.
Exports of mobile phones declined 17.8% to US$1.37 billion from the previous year due to the expansion of the local procurement of parts such as supply from factories in Vietnam. But exports of finished goods swelled 2 percent to US$650 million.
By region, exports steadily grew 27.5% to China, 12.3% to Vietnam, 24.9% to the US and 14.9% to the European Union. In the case of imports, imports from China decreased 5.9%, exports from the US, 6.0%. Imports from Japan and Vietnam climbed 1.5% and 34.1%, respectively.
As a result, Korea's ICT trade balance in March produced a surplus of US$10 billion. The cumulative trade balance by the end of March posted a surplus of US$26.36 billion, up US$6.13 billion from the same period of last year.