South Korea's exports of industrial parts surged to a record high last year as did the sector's trade surplus, the government said Thursday.
In 2013, outbound shipments of industrial parts and materials reached $263.1 billion, up 3.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The amount accounts for over 47 percent of the country's total exports in 2013, which came to $559.6 billion.
Imports gained 1.9 percent on-year to $165.5 billion.
The trade surplus in the parts and materials sector also surged to a record high of $97.6 billion, far surpassing the country's overall trade surplus of $44 billion last year, according to the ministry.
"Exports climbed to the largest amount in the country's history as shipments to most parts of the world showed strong growth despite many difficult conditions, such as the weak Japanese yen and the U.S. tapering of its quantitative easing," it said in a press release.
Shipments to China, the world's single largest importer of South Korean industrial parts and materials, rose 5.78 percent on-year to $91.5 billion, making up 34.8 percent of the sector's total exports in 2013.
Exports to Japan, on the other hand, dropped 8.5 percent on-year to $13.9 billion, an apparent outcome of the weak Japanese currency that has made South Korean products relatively more expensive in Japan. Imports from Japan also dropped by over 8 percent on-year to $34.4 billion last year.
The ministry forecast the sector will outperform this year as well, with exports rising 4.5 percent on-year to $275 billion while imports grow at a faster rate of 5 percent to $173.8 billion, bringing the sector's trade surplus to over $100 billion mark for the first time. (Yonhap News)