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S. Korea’s Trade Volume Surpasses $1 tn Mark at Fastest Pace

According to Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea,

South Korea’s trade volume may hit the highest this year after it surpassed a $1 trillion threshold at the fastest rate as of Friday thanks upbeat sales of memory chips and petrochemical products, the government said Friday.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Customs Service, the total amount of accumulated trade by Asia’s fourth-largest economy reached $1 trillion as of Friday, the fastest growth pace since the government began compiling related data in 1956. This year will be the second straight year for Korea’s trade volume to surpass $1 trillion.

The trade ministry projected that annual trade volume for full 2018 would break the previous record of $1.1 trillion in 2014 should brisk outbound shipments continue.

Korea’s trade volume has remained upbeat so far this year despite challenging environment such as the escalating trade war between Korea’s two major trade partners the United States and China, as well as increased volatility in the global financial market. The government said such challenges have been somewhat offset by a recovery in the global manufacturing sector, higher international oil prices, diversification of export items focusing more on high value-added products, and increased shipments to emerging markets.

The country has succeeded in diversifying not only export destinations but also export items, the government said. Korea’s 13 major export items including memory chips, general machinery, petrochemical, chemical products, vehicles, and steel accounted for 77.7 percent of total exports in the January-October period from a year ago, slightly down from 78.2 percent in 2017.

Exports of new industry items such as electric vehicles, high-tech materials, bio-health, and next-generation semiconductors jumped 12 percent during the same period, higher than the 6.4 percent overall export growth rate.

Shipments of cosmetics and medical items also jumped 32.6 percent and 23.4 percent, respectively, during the same period, while high value-added items such as multi-chip package 13.5 percent and next-generation solid state drives 33.6 percent.

Exports to nine out of the 10 regions including China, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the U.S., European Union, and Vietnam increased while those to Middle East dropped on-year.

By Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Eun-joo

Copyrights Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea. All Rights Reserved.

Source: Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea (November 18, 2018)

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