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(3rd LD) S. Korea's exports jump 13.5 pct on-year in May

All News 11:00 June 01, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS more details paras 12-14)

SEJONG, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports spiked 13.5 percent in May from a year earlier, rebounding from a brief dip in the previous month, due to a rise in prices of key products and a global boom in the IT sector, government data showed Friday.

Outbound shipments reached US$50.98 billion last month, compared with $44.92 billion a year ago, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Imports surged 12.6 percent on-year to $44.25 billion.

South Korea's trade surplus came to $6.73 billion, marking 76 straight months in which the country's exports have exceeded imports, the ministry said.

May was also the third straight month that the country's exports topped the $50 billion mark, according to the ministry.

In the first five months of the year, the country's cumulative exports reached a record $246.4 billion, up 8.2 percent from a year earlier.

The ministry said last month's outbound shipments surged largely due to a rise in manufacturing activities in major economies, as well the continuing boom in the global IT sector and a rise in prices of key products such as petrochemical goods.

Daily exports reached $2.37 billion last month, up 10.8 percent from a month earlier, rebounding from a 3.7 percent contraction in April.

Shipments of chips surged 44.5 percent on-year to $10.85 billion last month on brisk sales of high-value memory chips and storage devices, with those for machinery products gaining 15.8 percent.

Overseas sales of petrochemical goods moved up a strong 26.8 percent thanks to rebounding global demand, according to the ministry.

In contrast, sales of flat panel displays dipped 21 percent, and exports of ships plunged 67 percent on-year last month, with outbound shipments of steel products also edging down last month, it said.

By destination, exports to China reached $13.85 billion last month, surging 30 percent from a year earlier, with those to the U.S. rising 11.8 percent to $6.18 billion over the cited period.

Outbound shipments to the EU nations jumped 5.7 percent to $5.1 billion, while exports to ASEAN nations dipped 2.2 percent to $7.94 billion.

In particular, exports to Vietnam declined 8.4 percent on-year to $3.81 billion last month, according to the ministry.

The commerce ministry said the country's outbound shipments may face uncertainties stemming from increased currency volatility, an accelerating rate hike in the United States and a potential retreat in emerging markets.

But export growth will be maintained on the back of a continued recovery in major economies and a rise in oil prices.

Containers carrying export goods are stacked on the piers of South Korea's largest port city, Busan, on Jan. 1, 2018. (Yonhap)


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