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Korea’s June Exports Surge Amid Semiconductor Boom, Trade Surplus Hits Record High

Automobile Exports Stable Despite Fewer Working Days; Petrochemical and Petroleum Products Show Growth
South Korea
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Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) reported a notable rise in exports for June, marking a 5.1% year-on-year increase to $57.1 billion. Imports, meanwhile, fell by 7.5% to $49.1 billion, leading to a trade surplus of $8.0 billion, the largest in 45 months.

June’s export value was the second highest ever, sustaining a nine-month growth streak. Daily export values also reached a peak of $2.7 billion, a 12.4% increase, marking the highest in 21 months.

Key drivers included robust growth in IT items, with semiconductor exports soaring 50.9% to an all-time high of $13.4 billion. Displays, computers, and wireless communication devices also showed significant growth, contributing to the overall positive export performance.

Despite a slight 0.4% year-on-year decline in automobile exports, the sector maintained a strong presence with $6.2 billion in exports, consistently surpassing the $6 billion mark each month except February due to the Seollal holidays. Petrochemical and petroleum product exports rose by 4.8% and 8.4%, respectively.

Regionally, exports to the U.S. increased by 14.7% to $11.0 billion, setting monthly records since November 2023. Exports to China grew 1.8% to $10.7 billion, while those to India and ASEAN nations also saw substantial increases.

The first half of 2024 saw exports rise by 9.1% to $334.8 billion, while imports fell by 6.5% to $311.7 billion, leading to a record trade surplus of $23.1 billion. Semiconductor exports reached $65.7 billion, driven by rising memory prices and server demand. Automobile exports hit a historic high, supported by hybrid electric vehicle sales.

The data underscores Korea’s robust export sector, particularly in semiconductors and IT, despite global economic challenges.



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