Annual trade volume surpasses $1 trillion

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Annual trade volume surpasses $1 trillion

Korea’s annual trade volume surpassed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in three years, driven by upbeat exports of memory chips and petrochemical products, the government said Thursday.

The total amount of trades by Asia’s fourth-largest economy reached the threshold as of Thursday afternoon, according to the data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Customs Service.

Annual trade volume surpassed the $1 trillion mark for four consecutive years from 2011, but it missed that mark in the following two years in the wake of the global economic slowdown.

Outbound shipments in the first 11 months of this year reached a record high of $524.8 billion, up 16.5 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said.

Major export items, including semiconductors, machinery, petrochemical products, ships and steel, marked double-digit growth this year.

Exports of memory chips propelled the overall figure, soaring 56.6 percent on-year to $88.27 billion through November, helped by brisk demand and a price rally in the global market.

The ratio of shipments to Korea’s two main trading partners - China and the United States - slipped from 37.6 percent in 2014 to 36.5 percent this year as local companies stepped up efforts to diversify their overseas market presence, the ministry said.

Sales in Southeast Asian nations jumped 19.4 percent on-year to $157.5 billion through November, making the economic bloc South Korea’s No. 2 export destination, it noted.

Korean goods traded in the first nine months of this year accounted for 3.3 percent of the world’s total trades, already exceeding last year’s total of 2.8 percent, the ministry said, citing data from the World Trade Organization.

The growth in exports in the first nine months of this year was the fastest among the top 10 exporting nations, moving Korea’s overall standing up by two notches from last year to sixth place, the ministry noted.

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