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(LEAD) Exports soar 41 pct in first 20 days of August

All News 09:06 August 23, 2021

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

SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports jumped 40.9 percent on-year in the first 20 days of August on the back of robust demand for chips, autos and petroleum products, customs data showed Monday.

The country's outbound shipments stood at US$32.2 billion in the Aug. 1-20 period, compared with $22.9 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Imports soared 52.1 percent on-year to $35.8 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $3.5 billion during the cited period, the data showed.

This file photo, taken Aug. 2, 2021, shows stacks of containers at a port in South Korea's southeastern city of Busan. (Yonhap)

By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, rose 39.8 percent on-year, and those of autos increased 37 percent despite global supply shortages of automotive chips.

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. Autos made up around 7 percent of total exports.

Exports of petroleum products jumped 55.3 percent on-year as oil prices rose amid the global economic recovery.

By country, shipments to China -- South Korea's largest trading partner -- rose 37.3 percent on-year, and those to the United States jumped 50.1 percent.

The South Korean economy is on a recovery track on the back of robust exports. But the latest resurgence in COVID-19 cases and the fast spread of the delta variant emerged as major downside risks for the economic recovery.

Exports, which account for half of the economy, rose 29.6 percent on-year in July to a record high of US$55.4 billion in July, extending their gains to the ninth straight month.

The Bank of Korea forecast Asia's fourth-largest economy to grow 4 percent this year. The government forecast economic growth of 4.2 percent.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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