Exports surge 69% in first 10 days of February

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Exports surge 69% in first 10 days of February

A cargo ship with export goods along the coast of Busan on Feb. 1. [YONHAP]

A cargo ship with export goods along the coast of Busan on Feb. 1. [YONHAP]

 
 
Exports surged nearly 70 percent in the first 10 days of the month thanks to strong demand for Korea's major products, especially semiconductors.  
 
According to the Korea Customs Service on Monday, export's hit $18 billion in the first 10 days of February, a 69.1 percent increase year-on-year.  
 
Average daily exports in the first 10 days were up 40 percent.
 
By product, semiconductor exports increased 58 percent thanks to robust demand for memory chips for servers as IT companies expanded during the Covid-19 pandemic.  
 
Automobile exports grew 102.4 percent and mobile telecommunication equipment exports were up 88 percent thanks to the releases of new smartphones. Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S21 launched globally in late January.  
 
Even petrochemical products, which were falling due to low crude prices, saw an increase, growing 37.5 percent year-on-year.
 
While the domestic economy continues to struggle due to social distancing regulations, exports have performed strongly for the last 70 days.   
 
In January, exports grew 11.4 percent and in December they grew 12.6 percent.  
 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which projected 3.1 percent growth for the Korean economy this year, a turnaround from a 1 percent contraction in 2020, cited exports as a major contributor to the country’s recovery.  
 
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy also cited the Lunar New Year holidays as a factor that drove up exports. Some exporters try to ship goods before the holidays begin. 
 
Exports to China in the first 10 days of the month were up 66 percent, while exports to the U.S. grew 91.4 percent. Exports to the EU surged 126.1 percent. Even exports to Japan, which have been in a decline, saw a 43.5 percent increase.  
 
Another sign of economic recovery was an increase in imports.  
 
Imports in the first 10 days of this month increase 72 percent to reach $20.4 billion.  
 
The biggest increase came in energy imports. Imports of crude oil grew 26.7 percent, while gas imports surged 183 percent and petroleum products were up 52.4 percent.  
 
By country, imports from China surged 162.5 percent and imports from the U.S. grew 45.1 percent. Imports from the EU was up nearly 59 percent and from Japan 37.8 percent. Thanks to inbound shipments of crude oil, imports from the Middle East were up 40 percent.  
 
BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
 
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