Exports up 17 percent in September on year to record high
It is the 11th consecutive month of on-year growth and the longest winning streak since 2018.
Exports have been growing at double-digit rates for seven consecutive months. It is also the seventh consecutive month in which exports exceeded $50 billion.
In the first nine months of the year, total exports were $467.7 billion, the most for the first nine months of any year since the data were first compiled.
With only three months left to the year, it is likely that exports will achieve an annual record in 2021, beating 2018’s $604.9 billion.
“Despite the fact that there were fewer working days due to Chuseok holidays, exports in September achieved a record,” said Moon Dong-min, deputy minister for trade and investment, adding that the data have been compiled since 1956.
Moon said while there are worries that governments globally will begin to ease up on expansionary fiscal policies, trade continues to grow.
He especially noted that Korea’s continuing growth in exports, which is setting new records, proved Korean competitiveness.
“SMEs have been doing exceptionally,” Moon said. “SMEs are adjusting quickly to the changes in the consumer markets since the pandemic and have adjusted to online export marketing.”
The trade official said while Korea’s exports have been better-than-expected, there are a few risks, especially the rising price of oil.
“The spread of the Covid-19 variant, problems in trade logistics, shortages of parts and rising raw material prices remain risk factors,” Moon said. “As crude prices have been rising, the costs have increased for industry.”
The price of Dubai Crude rose 75 percent in September on year from $41.51 per barrel in September 2020 to $72.63 last month.
Imports last month grew 31 percent on year to $51.6 billion, and the country achieved a $4.2 billion surplus, the 17th consecutive monthly surplus.
Semiconductor exports in September were $12.2 billion, up 28.2 percent on year, the 15th consecutive monthly increase.
Petroleum goods exports rose 78.7 percent year on year to $3.5 billion, and steel exports rose 41.8 percent to $3.4 billion. Wireless communication device exports rose 19.9 percent to $1.4 billion.
Car exports dropped 6.1 percent last month to $3.6 billion.
Exports to the United States and Europe have increase for 13 consecutive months, while exports to China and South America are up for 11 consecutive months.
Exports to China, which is Korea’s biggest export market, last month grew 17.3 percent to $14.3 billion, with wireless telecommunication device exports up 152.2 percent.
Exports to the United States, Korea’s second-largest export market, grew 14.5 percent.
Exports to Europe were up 15.6 percent to $54.2 billion, led by vehicles, steel and petrochemicals. Exports to Japan were up 17.2 percent to $2.5 billion.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [email@example.com]