Korea has enjoyed a five-year run of a trade surplus of over US$25 billion, with last year’s surplus amounting to US$44 billion dollars.
According to confirmed import and export data released by the Korea Customs Service on January 14, exports increased by 2.1 percent to US$559.6 billion, and imports decreased by 0.8 percent to US$515.6 billion.
By category, sales of automobiles (4.5 percent) and auto parts (6 percent) were key factors that contributed the export increase, as they registered the highest sales ever.
Semiconductors (13.3 percent) and wireless telephony equipment (11.1 percent) also contributed to the export increase. In contrast, sales of oil (-6 percent), LCDs (-8.4 percent), and shipbuilding (-5.4 percent) all decreased compared to 2012.
By region, exports to EU and ASEAN countries dropped as the European financial crisis continued and Southeast Asia’s economy slowed signs of growth. But in the biggest markets, China and the US, the highest-ever export sales were recorded of 8.6 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
Import of capital goods and consumer goods increased by 2.8 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, but imports of raw materials decreased by 3.7 percent.
Imports from China increased by 2.8 percent, but imports from the US (-4.2 percent), Japan (-6.8 percent), Australia (-9.7 percent), the Middle East (-1.2 percent), and Central and South America (-6.8 percent) all decreased.
During 2013, a trade surplus was recorded of US$44 billion dollars, resulting in a five-year run of a trade surplus over US$25 billion.
By country, Korea’s trade surplus came from China (US$62.8 billion), the US (US$20.5 billion), Southeast Asia (US$55.6 billion) Central and South America (US$18 billion) and Eastern Europe (US$10.8 billion).