(ATTN: RECASTS forecast for domestic demand in last para)
SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of rechargeable batteries rose for the fifth consecutive year in 2020 despite the coronavirus impact, data showed Monday.
Overseas shipments of rechargeable batteries came to 7.2 trillion won (US$6.6 billion) last year, up 2.9 percent from the previous year, according to the data from the industry ministry and the Korea Battery Industry Association.
Exports of rechargeable batteries expanded for five years running in 2020, setting a new record.
Rechargeable battery production in Asia's fourth-largest economy also surged 20 percent on-year to 23.3 trillion won last year, with domestic demand swelling 11.6 percent to 5.3 trillion won.
Last year's brisk exports were powered by lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs), which accounted for the bulk of rechargeable battery output.
Exports of lithium-ion batteries surged 10.6 percent on-year to 1.3 trillion won last year, and domestic demand also expanded as local EV production spiked nearly 34 percent.
Bolstered by strong exports, the combined global market share of South Korea's three major rechargeable battery makers -- SK Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation -- soared to 34 percent as of the end of November last year, up from 16 percent in 2019.
Market watchers paint a rosy outlook for the domestic rechargeable battery industry as global demand is expected to be resilient on eco-friendly policies in major economies.
South Korea's overseas shipments of rechargeable batteries are forecast to expand 5.7 percent on-year to $7 billion this year.
Production is projected to soar 32 percent to 31 trillion won, with domestic demand likely to soar 19.8 percent to 6.3 trillion won on launches of new EV vehicles.
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