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(LEAD) S. Korea's exports up 1 pct in first 20 days of December

All News 14:11 December 21, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with monthly economic assessment report in last 7 paras)

SEJONG, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports edged up 1 percent in the first 20 days of December from a year earlier, customs data showed Friday, despite lingering external uncertainties.

The country's outbound shipments reached US$31.3 billion in the Dec. 1-20 period due to a rise in outbound shipments of cars and petrochemical goods, according to the Korea Customs Service (KCS).

The customs office said daily average exports -- which reflect working days -- rose 1 percent on-year to $2.01 billion in the first 20 days of December.

By product, shipments of passenger cars surged 46.8 percent and petrochemical goods rose 13.5 percent, while exports of semiconductors fell 9.8 percent.

In the first 20 days of the month, the country's imports rose 2.2 percent on-year to reach $30.2 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $1.03 billion, the KCS said.

By destination, South Korea's exports to the United States, the European Union and Vietnam rose 30.8 percent, 10.2 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

South Korea's shipments to China and Hong Kong fell 14.2 percent and 41.6 percent, respectively.

In November, South Korea's exports reached US$51.92 billion, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier, earlier government data showed.

Meanwhile, South Korea's economy displayed "a solid trend of exports and domestic spending, but external uncertainties persist due to protracted trade disputes between the U.S. and China," the ministry said in its monthly economic assessment report.

The report, called the "Green Book," is based on the latest economic indicators of such key factors as output, exports, consumption and corporate investment, which provide clues as to how Asia's fourth-largest economy has been faring in recent months.

The report showed that the country's overall industrial output increased 6.7 percent in October from a year earlier, while retail sales rose 5 percent due to increased sales of cars during the cited period.

But facility investment fell 7.4 percent in the third quarter from the previous year.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said earlier this week that the government will remove uncertainty over corporate investment in the latest move to encourage companies to boost investment.

Corporate investment is a key issue as South Korea seeks to create jobs and boost its economy.

This undated photo shows containers carrying export goods in Busan, South Korea's largest seaport. (Yonhap)

This undated photo shows containers carrying export goods in Busan, South Korea's largest seaport. (Yonhap)


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