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Trade surplus soars to record high in 2013

Trade surplus soars to record high in 2013

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Published : 2014-01-01 19:53
Updated : 2014-01-01 19:53

South Korea’s trade surplus widened to a new high of $44.19 billion in 2013 as its exports grew at a steady rate while imports dwindled, the government said Wednesday.

In 2013, the country’s outbound shipments came to $559.72 billion, up 2.2 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Imports slipped 0.8 percent on-year to $515.53 billion over the cited period.

Exports in 2013 also marked the highest in the country’s history. The previous record of $555.2 billion was set in 2011.

“The country earned a triple crown as both its exports and trade surplus surged to record highs with its total trade volume surpassing $1 trillion for the third consecutive year,” the ministry said in a press release.

Exports in December rose 7.1 percent on-year to $48.05 billion, while its imports gained 3 percent to $44.37 billion for a $3.67 billion surplus.

December marked the 23rd consecutive month of trade surplus. Shipments to China and the United States led the overall growth of South Korea’s exports in 2013, growing 8.6 percent and 6 percent on-year, respectively.

Exports in 2013 to the 10-member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gained 3.6 percent from the previous year, though they dropped 8 percent on-year in the fourth quarter, according to the ministry.

Shipments to Japan, on the other hand, plunged 10.6 percent on-year in 2013 with those to the European Union slipping 1 percent.

By product, exports of mobile communication devices, such as smartphones, jumped 21.2 percent from a year earlier in 2013 with shipments of home appliances and semiconductors surging 16.8 percent and 13.3 percent on-year, respectively.

Shipments of petroleum products and ships dropped 5.9 percent and 6.3 percent on-year, respectively, with exports of steel products plunging 11.9 percent.

For this year, the ministry forecast the country’s overall trade volume to grow 7.6 percent.

Its trade surplus, however, is expected to shrink significantly as its exports will likely gain 6.4 percent on-year to some $595.5 billion with its imports growing at a faster rate of 9 percent to $562 billion, it said. (Yonhap News)

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