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IT sector's contribution to S. Korea's exports declines while energy gains

The Information Technology (IT) sector’s contribution to South Korea’s total exports dropped, while the energy sector’s gained, according to data released by the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy (MKE). 80 percent of the nation’s total exports from 2001 to 2011 came from exports of 12 product segments in three industrial sectors - manufacturing (cars and their parts, general machinery, steel, ships, and textile), IT (liquid crystal display (LCD), home appliances, computers and wireless communications devices) and energy (such as petroleum and petrochemical products).

Exports of the 12 product segments grew 14.3 percent and served as a driving engine of the nation’s total exports that posted an annual 13.9 percent growth.

As a result, exports of the 12 product types comprised 79.8 percent between January and October this year, up from 78.7 percent of 2001. Nonetheless, the ratio stood lower than a record high of 83.7 percent in 2007. By sector, Korea’s major manufacturing sector represented 40 percent of the country’s total exports and remained as a backbone of the outbound shipments. The proportion of the automotives, general machinery and steel sectors continued to grow in the overall exports, but the textile sector saw a drastic decrease in its proportion of Korea’s total overseas shipments.

The local IT sector grew with a 34.3 percent ratio of the total exports in 2003, but its contribution has declined to 23.0 percent last year to 22.1 percent for the first 10 months this year. The decline is attributable to imports of major products including household electronics, computers and wireless telecommunication devices, said the MKE.

Meanwhile, the local energy sector has consistently posted higher shares of the overall exports, bolstered by rising oil prices and expanded demands in emerging markets. The energy sector accounted for 10.8 percent of the nation’s total outbound shipments in 2001, and the ratio jumped to 17.5 percent last year and to 18.7 percent from January to October this year.

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