Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Moon Sung-wook (Yonhap)
South Korea’s exports in July surged 29.6 percent to $55.4 billion on-year, a record monthly figure since the nation began compiling the data in 1956, according to the Trade Ministry Sunday.
In the first seven months of this year, Korea’s accumulated exports were worth $358.7 billion, setting another record. Also, this is the first time in 10 years that the country saw double digit growths for four consecutive months in 10 years -- 41.2 percent in April, 45.6 percent in May, 39.8 percent in 29.8 percent and 29.6 percent in July.
“For two straight months from June to July, exports of the nation’s 15 core products all increased, 13 of them witnessing double-digit growths. Also, for four consecutive months, Korea’s exports grew in all nine major markets,” a Trade Ministry official said.
Private and public experts, including those at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade and the Bank of Korea, estimate the nation’s exports this year at between $601.7 billion and $610.5 billion, while its trade volume is projected at $1.15 trillion to $1.19 trillion.
The record performance was propelled by robust exports in both conventional and new sectors.
Overseas sales of chips, fueled by global server demands, spiked 39.6 percent to reach $11 billion in July on-year, surpassing $10.4 billion in July 2018 when the world was enjoying a chip “super cycle.”
In January, RAMeXchange, a research division of market tracker TrendForce, set the average contract price of an 8-gigabyte DRAM at $3.25, $3.50 and $3.75 in the second, third and fourth quarters this year, respectively. In June, RAMeXchange raised the figures to $3.80, $4.09 and $4.23. The price hike is expected to give a further boost to Korea’s chip industry.
Thanks to surging demand in packaging and quarantine products, exports of petrochemical products jumped 59.5 percent to $4.7 billion, while those of automobiles surged 12.3 percent to $4.1 billion buoyed by the global demand for eco-friendly vehicles.
Among emerging industries, exports of rechargeable batteries enjoyed a stellar 31.3 percent growth to $790 million.
By Kim Byung-wook (email@example.com