South Korea's exports of food and agricultural products rose slightly from a year earlier in 2013 as a steep gain in shipments of fresh foodstuff more than offset a drop in shipments of processed goods, the government said Sunday.
In 2013, the country's outbound shipments of agricultural products amounted to $5.72 billion, up 1.4 percent from 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Shipments of fresh foodstuff, such as fruits and vegetables, surged 9.4 percent on-year to $1.18 billion, with exports of processed products slipping 0.5 percent to $4.54 billion.
"Exports in 2013 had been expected to reach $6 billion, growing 6.4 percent from $5.64 billion in 2012, but worsening external a domestic conditions for exports, such as the weak Japanese yen and Europe's delayed economic recovery, kept the country from reaching its target," the ministry said in a press release.
The ministry said the Japanese currency depreciated over 19.5 percent from 1,256.29 won to 100 yen on Dec. 26, 2012 to 1,010.30 won to 100 yen on the same date last year, which means South Korean products were sold at a significantly higher price in Japan last year than from a year earlier.
Shipments of agricultural products to Japan in 2013 dropped 8.6 percent on-year to some $1.28 billion, though the country continued to be the world's largest importer of South Korean goods.
Shipments to China, on the other hand, grew 4.6 percent on-year to $947.8 million, making China the single second-largest importer of South Korean agricultural products.
Exports to the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations jumped 19 percent on-year to $985.4 million.
The number of countries purchasing over $100 million worth of agricultural products from South Korea rose to 11 last year from 10 in 2012 as shipments to Singapore surged 16.5 percent on-year to $113 million, according to the ministry. (Yonhap News)