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(LEAD) S. Korea's exports jump 69 pct in first 10 days of Feb.

Finance 09:16 February 15, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from para 3; ADDS photo)
By Kim Soo-yeon

SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports jumped 69.1 percent on-year in the first 10 days of February on strong shipments of chips and autos amid the pandemic, customs data showed Monday.

The country's outbound shipments stood at US$18 billion in the Feb. 1-10 period, compared with $10.6 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Imports soared 71.9 percent on-year to $20.4 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $2.46 billion, the data showed.

This photo, taken Nov. 16, 2020, shows stacks of import-export cargo containers at South Korea's largest seaport in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, advanced 57.9 percent on-year in the cited period, and exports of autos soared 102.4 percent.

Semiconductors accounted for about 20 percent of exports by South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest memory chipmaker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc.

Exports of petroleum products rose 37.5 percent on-year amid rising oil prices, and those of telecommunication devices gained 88 percent.

By country, shipments to China -- South Korea's largest trading partner -- jumped 65.7 percent on-year, and exports to the United States shot up 91.4 percent, the data showed.

In January, exports, which account for half of the South Korean economy, rose 11.4 percent on-year on the back of brisk demand of chips and autos, the data showed.

Last year, exports fell 5.4 percent on-year due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. On a monthly basis, the pace of the slump has eased since June last year as global demand recovered following months of border lockdowns.

The finance ministry forecast the country's overseas shipments to grow 8.6 percent on-year this year on strong shipments of semiconductors and cars.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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