According to foreign media reports, due to the strong demand for chips and automotive products, South Korea’s Ministry of trade, industry and energy released data on April 1, showing that exports in March reached 53.8 billion US dollars, up 16.6% from 46.1 billion US dollars a year ago, the fifth consecutive month of growth; imports reached 49.6 billion US dollars, up 18.8% from 41.7 billion US dollars a year ago. South Korea has achieved a trade surplus for 11 consecutive months.
According to Yonhap, the export growth in March was slightly lower than the 18.3% market forecast, but it was still the highest increase in March in history.
In March, South Korea’s chip exports rose 8.6% year-on-year to US $9.51 billion, the highest in 28 months, accounting for about 18% of the total exports of the month. As data centers around the world are expanding, the average price of chips has stabilized in the face of supply shortages, Yonhap reported.
South Korea’s Ministry of trade, industry and energy also said auto exports rose 15.3% year-on-year in March to $4.4 billion, the highest in four years. Recently, although the shortage of chips has caused concern about the reduction of auto production, the strong demand for high-end cars has helped South Korea’s auto exports continue to grow for several consecutive months, including SUVs and electric vehicles.
The data also showed that in March, due to the strong demand for green energy, South Korea’s rechargeable battery export increased by 23.5% year-on-year; the sustained recovery of international oil prices led to the growth of oil products for the first time in two years, with a year-on-year growth of 18.3% to US $2.7 billion; ship export increased by 63.9% to US $2.3 billion; due to the strong demand for new coronavirus test products, the export of biomedical products increased by 43.6%.
In terms of export destinations, in March, South Korea’s exports to China increased by 26% year-on-year, and the recovery of China’s economy led to an increase in demand for South Korea’s construction equipment; South Korea’s exports to the United States increased by 9.2%, with the normalization of production in North America, the export of auto parts products stabilized; due to the strong demand for new coronavirus detection products and environmental protection auto products, South Korea’s exports to the European Union increased significantly 6%; South Korea’s exports to Southeast Asia increased by 10.8%.
In 2020, South Korea’s economy will shrink by 1%, the largest decline since the 1997 financial crisis. In 2020, South Korea’s exports will reach US $512.8 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 5.4%. But since the beginning of this year, South Korea’s exports have continued to pick up. In February, also driven by strong demand for products such as chips and cars, South Korea’s exports grew by 9.5% year-on-year.
South Korea’s central bank predicted that this year’s economic recovery from the epidemic may be faster than expected, and raised its forecast for this year’s export growth to 7.1% in February from 5.3% in November last year.