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Materials and parts exports hit all-time high in 2017

Jan 19,2018

Korea’s parts exports rose to an all-time high last year on the back of strong demand for electronics parts and petrochemical products, government data showed Thursday.

Outbound shipments of parts and materials reached $282.1 billion in 2017, up 12 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.

Imports of parts and materials rose 10.3 percent on-year to $168.3 billion for a trade surplus of $113.8 billion, the ministry said.

“Parts and material exports achieved double-digit growth for the first time in six years, in line with the global economic recovery, contributing to South Korea’s overall exports in 2017,” the ministry said in a release.

Exports of electronics parts, including memory chips, jumped 29.1 percent over the period to drive up overall performance, and petrochemical products increased 17.8 percent thanks to higher sales prices caused by the rise in oil prices and increased output from new facilities.

In contrast, auto parts retreated 7.9 percent on sluggish sales of Korean vehicles in major markets, including the United States and China.

By country, exports to China, Korea’s largest trading partner, gained 7.4 percent, led by electronics parts and petrochemical products. Sales in Southeast Asian nations, Latin America and Europe grew by double digits last year.

Infrastructure booms in emerging economies and brisk demand for memory chips, required by the increasingly data-based economy, will continue to boost parts exports, the ministry said.

It, however, said China’s increased output, a strong Korean won and rising trade protectionism pose risks for outbound shipments. Yonhap