Lim Sung-hyun and Cho Jeehyun
South Korea’s exports grew 4.5 percent in November from the previous year, reaching the third-highest record of $51.92 billion as semiconductors and petroleum products continued to drive up growth, data showed.
It was the seventh consecutive month for nation’s monthly outbound shipments exports to exceed $50 billion, according to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Saturday. Daily shipment averaged $2.16 billion, up 4.5 percent compared to a year ago period.
Imports jumped 11.4 percent to $46.78 billion over the same period and delivered $5.14 billion in trade surplus, which extended the surplus streak for the 82nd consecutive month.
Cumulative exports from January to November gained 6.2 percent on year to a record high of $557.2 billion.
The brisk exports in November were driven by robust demand in global manufacturing industry amid the ongoing recovery in major economies and rising oil prices, which pushed up the prices of the country`s mainstay petrochemical and refined oil products, said the trade ministry.
Six out of the country’s 13 mainstay items gained in November. Ship deliveries jumped a whopping 158.4 percent against the same month a year earlier. Exports of petroleum products soared 23.5 percent on year, semiconductors 11.6 percent, petrochemical product 3.8 percent, steel products 2.7 percent, and general machineries 0.8 percent.
By region, exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States region expanded 46.2 percent from a year earlier period. Shipments to the European Union increased 23.7 percent on year, India 11.8 percent, Japan 9.4 percent, the United States 7.9 percent, and Vietnam 2.6 percent.
Exports to ASEAN countries hit a record high of $9.41 billion in November, thanks to strong demand for semiconductors, displays, and automobiles.
The trade ministry expected the country’s export growth momentum would continue on to next month, allowing the annual export figure to top $600 billion for the first time ever this year. But growing external uncertainties from the spread of global trade protectionism and the U.S. monetary tightening still remain as risks for the country next year, the trade ministry said.