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(LEAD) S. Korea's exports grow 2.5 pct on-year in June

All Headlines 10:21 July 01, 2014

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 5th para)

SEJONG, July 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports grew 2.5 percent on-year in June, indicating that the country's overseas shipments may be improving, the government said Tuesday.

The country's exports came to US$47.84 billion last month, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Imports also gained 4.5 percent on-year to $42.55 billion.

Korea posted a trade surplus of $5.29 billion in June, marking the 29th straight month of surplus, the ministry said.

On a daily basis, the country shipped a record $2.28 billion worth of goods last month, a gain of 4.9 percent from last year.

The ministry attributed the rise in exports to strong demand from the United States that led to a 15.8 percent increase in shipments. The gains, however, were tempered by a drop in sales to Japan, the European Union (EU), China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last month. The numbers for China and the EU were down 1.1 percent and 2.2 percent. Shipments to ASEAN and Japan were each down 8.1 percent and 9.3 percent from a year earlier.

The ministry said sales of semiconductors, mobile communication devices, LCDs, high-end TV and steel products all rose, but petroleum products and automobiles declined.

For imports, commodities and intermediate products, which include machinery needed in semiconductor production lines, increased along with consumer goods. Steel imports rose, while local demand for natural gas and petroleum products declined. The data showed a sharp rise in auto imports.

The latest report also showed that for the first half of this year, South Korea's exports rose 2.6 percent on-year to $283.6 billion. Its imports moved up 2.7 percent to $263.3 billion, with the country's trade surplus hitting $20.3 billion.

The surplus is the largest tallied for the first half, with the daily export average of $2.13 billion exceeding previous highs.

It said economic revival in the United States and EU fueled demand, with exports of information technology products (IT), cars, ships and steel products doing well.

Exports to the EU and United States jumped 11.7 percent and 8.2 percent on-year in the January-June period.

In imports, the country brought in more raw materials and intermediate goods from abroad, in part to meet export demands. The ministry in charge of trade promotion said that export gains tallied for this year were better than those of rivals, and with worldwide economic recovery likely to accelerate in the second half, the country's outbound shipments, particularly in cars and ships, should do well in the coming months.

The World Trade Organization predicted global trade will expand 4.7 percent in 2014 from 2.1 percent last year.

It, however, warned that there is a need to keep tabs on developments in China, which can directly impact exports, and foreign exchange rates that can affect profitability of companies that sell products abroad.

kokobj@yna.co.kr

yonngong@yna.co.kr
(END)

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