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According to a report on export and import forecasts for the first half of 2013 released by the Institute for International Trade (IIT) of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), exports in the first half of this year rose slightly due to slowed export price recovery and depressed ship and automobile exports. However exports are expected to rise in the second half of this year backed by consistent growth of semiconductor, cell phone and IT device exports and an increase in automobile exports.
Based on the report, exports and imports in the second half of this year will increase by 6.7 percent and 8.5 percent year-on-year at USD 291.3 billion and USD 277.2 billion, respectively. Trade surplus is forecast to show a surplus of USD 14.1 billion. Exports and imports this year are expected to increase by 3.6 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively, resulting in a trade surplus of USD 33 billion.
Ship, automobile and general machinery exports are forecast to rise by about 4 percent. Semiconductor exports will maintain growth momentum, and exports of wireless communication devices will show a high increase due to a flagship model launch in the third quarter.
Petrochemical exports are predicted to increase with more synthetic resin exports, whereas exports of petroleum and steel products are forecast to decrease.
KETI suggested positives and negatives for Korea’s exports in the first half of this year. Positives are an increase in exports (8.2 percent from January to May), strong IT exports and sound exports to China and ASEAN countries. Negatives include a decrease in export cost (-3.5 percent from January to May), slowed ship exports and depressed exports to Japan and South and Central America.
An IIT insider noted that Korea’s exports only increased slightly in the first half of the year. But Korea is still ranked the world’s 7th largest exporter, showing a higher growth in exports and imports than those of other countries.
He commented that if demands from emerging countries are affected by the U.S.’ plan to scale back on quantitative easing and rising exchange rates, they could depress Korea’s exports. He added that continuous monitoring and responsive measures at the government level are required.
Source: Newsis (June 26, 2013)
** This article was translated from the Korean.