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Exports gain 2.2% from Nov. 1-20 on upbeat chip, auto sales

Nov. 21, 2023 - 09:36 By Yonhap
An official looks at a semiconductor wafer on display at the Semiconductor Exhibition, or SEDEX, in Seoul on Oct. 25. (Yonhap)

South Korea's exports rose 2.2 percent on-year in the first 20 days of this month on growing demand for semiconductors and vehicles, data showed Tuesday.

Outbound shipments reached $33.79 billion in the Nov. 1-20 period, compared with $33.07 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Per-day exports also went up 2.2 percent on-year to $2.18 billion during the cited period, it added.

Exports grew for the first time in 13 months in October. They advanced 5.1 percent on-year to $55 billion, driven by rising chip sales in the global market.

Imports fell 6.2 percent on-year to $35.21 billion during the first 20 days of November, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.4 billion.

The growth in exports was led by upbeat global sales of South Korean semiconductors and vehicles.

Exports of semiconductors, a key export item, advanced 2.4 percent to $5.41 billion during the first 20 days of this month.

It marked the first time since September last year that chip exports logged on-year growth during the first 20 days of a month.

On a monthly basis, semiconductor exports have fallen for 15 months in a row since August 2022 through October amid the industry downcycle.

Chip exports accounted for 16 percent of the country's total exports.

Auto exports surged 20.1 percent on-year to $3.76 billion.

Shipments of petroleum products inched up 0.4 percent to $3.05 billion, and exports of electronics jumped 25.6 percent to $430 million.

But steel exports fell 9.5 percent on-year to $2.23 billion, and those of auto parts fell 3.6 percent to $1.14 billion.

By destination, exports to China, the top trading partner for South Korea, fell 2.4 percent to $7.23 billion.

Exports to the United States, however, jumped 15.7 percent on-year to $6.59 billion during the cited period, and those to Vietnam climbed 1.4 percent to $3.11 billion.

Exports to the European Union lost 4.1 percent to $3.18 billion, while those to Japan increased 10.8 percent to $1.63 billion.

"Semiconductor sales are forecast to mark on-year growth this month, which would help lead the growth in overall exports," an industry ministry official said.

The government has expected exports, the country's key economic growth engine, to bottom out and gradually recover and vowed all-out efforts to support exporters. (Yonhap)