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[Other] Korean Industry Prospects for 2024
2024년 한국 산업 전망

Changes in Internal and External Conditions in 2024 and Implications for Industries

In 2024, the global market is expected to continue the recovery in global ICT demand that began from Q4 2023, while the demand for high-performance products and related infrastructure investments are expected to remain solid in line with digital transformation and eco-friendly trends. At the same time, the recovery in demand will be limited by monetary tightening, global political turmoil and others. Demand from major importers (e.g., United States and Europe) for the Korea's 13 key industries is expected to grow slightly as they build infrastructure and internalize the supply chain. Exports to China, however, are expected to shrink in most industries due to downward pressure on the Chinese economy. On the domestic side, the outlook for private consumption is negative, but there are also positive signs, such as the recovery of investment demand and industrial transition trends.

Outlook for Korea’s 13 Key Industries in 2024

Exports Driven by the recovery of global ICT demand and the base effect, IT and new industries are expected to lead exports, which will increase by 5.2% year-on-year.

In 2024, exports of Korea's 13 major industries are expected to reach USD 504.7 billion, up 5.2% from 2023 (-10.5%) as exports of most industries, with the exception of petrochemicals (-0.5%) and secondary batteries (-2.6%), expand despite limited growth of the global economy.
ㆍ Exports of 13 major industries: (2022) USD 536.5 billion → (2023) USD 479.9 billion → (2024) USD 504.7 billion
ㆍ Share of 13 major industries in total exports: (2022) 78.5% → (2023) 76.3% → (2024) 76.0%
  • Machinery Exports of general machinery (1.0%) and automotive (2.0%) maintain growth, backed by rising demand from major export markets. Shipbuilding (10.2%) is projected to continue growing in double-digits, and the overall machinery sector is expected to increase by 2.7%.
  • Materials Exports of steel (1.4%), textiles (2.0%), and oil refining (1.0%) are projected to increase, driven by rising demand from emerging economies, growing exports of high-tech materials, and the base effect. In comparison, falling unit prices are expected to make petrochemicals (-0.5%) stay flat, and the overall sector is expected to post a 0.7% growth.
  • IT & New Industries Increased demand for global IT products and innovative medicines and the base effect are expected to drive exports of major industries such as semiconductors (15.9%), ICT devices (12.7%), and bio-health (4.6%), enabling the sector’s overall exports to grow by 11.4% and champion the exports of the Korean economy, but secondary batteries are expected to decline slightly (-2.6%).
Prospects for Export Growth Variation in 13 Key Industries in 2024
Unit: % (year-on-year)
2024년 한국 산업 전망
* 1) Based on prices in US dollars 2) Automotive includes auto parts (MTI 741 and 742)

Domestic Consumption Domestic consumption of the IT & new industries sector is expected to recover, driven by the launch of new ICT products and rising demand for exported intermediate goods while the materials sector is projected to grow slightly as major economic indicators improve in the second half of the year.

Automotive, general machinery, steel, and textiles are projected to start growing in the second half after declining in the first half. In case of the IT sector, domestic consumption is expected to growth faster in the second half.
  • Machinery Shipbuilding (84%) is expected to maintain strong growth, while increased capex is projected to slow down the decline in general machinery (-3.4%). In comparison, automotive (-2.0%) will decline as accumulated deferred demand are met and purchasing conditions worsen.
  • Materials Domestic consumption is expected to grow in steel (0.6%), oil refining (1.5%), and petrochemicals (1%) as downstream industries recover in the second half of the year in line with the recovery of frontline industries. However, uncertainties in the real estate market and weakening private consumption will limit growth.
  • IT & New Industries Domestic consumption of semiconductors (9.4%) and ICT devices (5.4%) is expected to recover, and bio-health (10.7%) is expected to maintain strong growth. However, secondary battery (3.3%) is expected to grow only slightly, compared to the strong growth of the previous year (68.8%) as the growth of the EV market slows down.

Production Production of the IT and new industries sector is expected to grow as exports and domestic consumption recover. The materials sector’s growth will be limited while the machinery sector is forecast to decline slightly.

  • Machinery Automotive production (-2.3%) is expected to decline due to sluggish domestic consumption and exports; the decline in general machinery (-1.1%) production is forecast to slow down as domestic consumption recover; and shipbuilding (7.9%) is expected to increase as backlog orders are fulfilled.
  • Materials Steel (0.9%), refining (1.8%), and petrochemicals (0.6%) are expected to increase slightly as demand conditions improve and capacity utilization rates normalize. However, textiles (-1.4%) are projected to decline as demand slow down and the domestic production base weaken.
  • IT & New Industries Production of ICT devices (7.2%), semiconductors (17.5%), display (3.6%), and bio-health (4.6%) is expected to increase due to recovery in IT demand at home and abroad. In comparison, home appliances (-0.7%) are forecast to decline due to growing overseas production, and secondary batteries (1.1%) is expected to increase only slightly due to production cuts of exported batteries.
Prospects for Production Growth Rate in 13 Key Industries in 2024
Unit: % (year-on-year)
2024년 한국 산업 전망
* Note: Based on finished cars for the automotive industry, shipbuilding volume for the shipbuilding industry, steel products for the steel industry, petroleum products for the oil refining industry, and three main derivatives (synthetic resin, synthetic fiber materials and synthetic rubber) for the petrochemical industry. Other industries are based on prices in Korean won.

(Imports) Imports are expected to increase by 5.8% year-on-year as imports of the IT and new industries sector grow in line with recovery in domestic consumption.

  • (Machinery) The shipbuilding industry is expected to import more equipment from overseas and the demand for high-end cars are projected to grow in the automotive industry. However, overall imports in the machinery sector are forecast to decline by 1.3% as the general machinery industry with high import volume is expected to see a decline in imports.
  • (Materials) Refined petroleum and textile imports are expected to increase as Korea imports more petroleum products for the petrochemical industry and low- and medium-priced apparel. Petrochemical and steel imports are forecast to be similar to those of 2023.
  • (IT & New Industries) Imports in the IT & new industries sector are expected to grow by 10.4% year-on-year, supported by rising domestic consumption of ICT and bio-health industries, growing demand for overseas brand products, and increasing imports of intermediate goods for exports.
13 Key Industries
  • Machinery Sector Automotive, Shipbuilding, and General Machinery
  • Materials Sector Steel, Oil Refining, Petrochemicals, and Textiles
  • IT & New Industries Sector ICT Devices, Home Appliance, Semiconductors, Display, Secondary Batteries, and Bio-health

※ Source: Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (

<* The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of KOTRA.>

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