Record-breaking March sees exports up 6.1%

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Record-breaking March sees exports up 6.1%

Korea’s exports rose 6.1 percent last month from a year earlier to mark the largest monthly tally for March, government data showed Sunday.

Outbound shipments reached $51.58 billion in the one-month period, up from $48.64 billion a year ago, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

They increased for the 17th consecutive month, with the total being the highest for all March figures.

Imports gained 5 percent on-year to $44.72 billion.

Korea’s trade surplus came to $6.87 billion, marking 77 straight months in which the country’s exports have exceeded imports, the ministry said.

Daily exports also rose for 16 months in a row to $2.19 billion, up 8.3 percent from a year earlier.

“The upbeat pace in monthly exports is driven by recovering global trade and a boom in the information technology market,” the ministry said in a release, adding that steady demand for South Korean semiconductors lent strong support to the exports of Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Shipments of chips surged 44.2 percent on-year to $10.8 billion, setting a fresh monthly record, on brisk sales of high-value memory chips and storage devices.

Overseas sales of personal computers soared 62.5 percent on-year to a record $1.06 billion, while petroleum products edged up 0.3 percent as a rally in oil prices boosted their sales prices.

Exports of machinery and steel products also rose 6.1 percent and 6.3 percent last month, respectively, thanks to rebounding global demand.

In contrast, sales of automobiles dropped 8.6 percent on sluggish performance in North America, and those of auto parts also decreased 11.1 percent.

Exports of flat displays contracted 16.5 percent last month due to weak demand in China.

For the first three months of 2018, Korea saw its exports expand 10.3 percent to $145.7 billion from a year earlier and imports increase 13.4 percent to $132 billion. Its trade surplus reached $13.7 billion in the first quarter, down slightly from the previous year’s $15.6 billion.

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