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(LEAD) S. Korea's exports surge 15.8 pct in 2017

All News 10:56 January 01, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 6th para)

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports surged 15.8 percent to reach an all-time high of nearly US$574 billion last year fueled by an upturn in global demand, government data showed Monday.

Outbound shipments came to $573.9 billion for 2017, up from $495.4 billion a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and the Korea Customs Service.

The total is the largest annual export tally since the country started compiling such data in 1956.

Imports also jumped 17.7 percent on-year to $478.1 billion last year as Asia's fourth-largest economy posted a combined $1 trillion in trade for the first time in three years.

South Korea's trade surplus came to $95.8 billion, up from $89.2 billion the year before, the ministry said.

Key export products posted solid growth, as overseas sales of semiconductors reached $97.9 billion to top the $90 billion mark for the first time in history. Those of machinery hit a record $48.7 billion.

By region, exports to China rose to $13.8 billion last year, accounting for 24.8 percent of the country's total exports, down slightly from a 25.1 percent share set in 2016.

For the month of December, South Korea's exports rose 8.9 percent on-year to US$49.1 billion to extend the rally to the 14th consecutive month.

Imports gained 13 percent to $43.3 billion last month, with a trade surplus of $5.8 billion.


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