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Exports in May Reached USD 48.3 Billion

Exports in May Rose Slightly Year-on-Year.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), Korea’s exports grew by 3.2 percent to USD 48.368 billion year-on-year whereas imports decreased by 4.8 percent, at USD 42.341 billion.

The trade surplus reached USD 6.026 billion, the largest amount since October of 2010.

Backed by signs of global economic recovery in regions including the United States and China, exports increased for three consecutive months, and monthly export growth also rose from April’s 0.4 percent to May’s 3.2 percent.

Rise in global demand for smart devices contributed to the growth of IT product exports such as wireless communication devices and semiconductors. On the other hand, exports of ships, steel and oil products slowed down due to a decrease in export prices.

The growth of wireless communication device exports was the highest at 62.5 percent with increased smartphone exports, followed by semiconductors (17.4 percent); automobiles (6.2 percent); petrochemicals (4.1 percent); and machinery (0.7 percent), respectively.

In terms of automobiles, exports rose with the introduction of new models including Hyundai’s Maxcruz, Kia’s All New Carens and Ssangyong’s Korando Turismo and expanded dealer networks in major countries despite delayed settlement of labor and management relations resulting in disrupted production.

The export growth of ships dropped by 33.3 percent. The recession of the shipbuilding industry seems to have continued due to oversupply, depressed ship finances and the European economic crisis.

Following the shipbuilding industry, the export growth of oil products (-5.1 percent), LCD (-8.7 percent) and steel products (-13.0%) also decreased.

Exports to emerging countries such as China and Southeast Asian countries rose greatly, as well as those to the United States, with a rise in wireless communication device exports.

However, exports to Japan have been decreasing due to the low yen. Exports to the EU also slowed.

The United States showed the highest regional export growth at 21.6 percent, followed by Central and South America (17.8 percent), China (16.6 percent), ASEAN countries (11.8 percent), CIS (-4.2 percent) and the EU (-14.6 percent).

In terms of the United States, exports of wireless communication devices and automobile parts increased significantly. Exports to China also rose considerably in wireless communication devices (85.0 percent) and automobile parts (27.8 percent).

To Japan, exports of oil products (-61.6 percent), semiconductors (-31.7 percent) and steel products (-28.7 percent) were largely reduced. However industrial electronic product exports increased (68.4 percent).

Imports of raw materials dropped by 15.2 percent, whereas imports of capital and consumption goods increased by 6.3 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Although gas imports rose, total imports decreased as less crude oil was imported with reduced oil prices and repaired oil refinery facilities.

Backed by the strong IT exports of Korea, a technological powerhouse, and increased exports to the United States and China, Korea is showing relatively sound exports, according to MOTIE, adding that due to negative factors such as a low yen, exports to Japan and the EU and exports of the shipbuiding and steel industry slowed down.
MOTIE noted that active efforts are required to enhance export competitiveness and penetrate markets as there is a possibility of depressed exports with a prolonged or more severe low yen trend.

Source Text

Source: Newsis (June 1, 2013)

** This article was translated from the Korean.

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