South Korea’s exports of IT products and autos markedly jumped as the global economy showed signs of recovery.
The nation’s exports jumped 11.8 percent on-year to record $4.6 million in January this year, according to the recent
data released by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE). This marks a double-digit growth of the nation’s export
in 11 months. Imports also climbed at a pace of 3.9 percent to reach $4.52 million.
“The global economy bottomed out last year and is seeing green sprouts of recovery,” noted an official of the MKE.
By region, the nation’s exports to the US were up 21.2 percent and that to the AESAN (17 percent), China (16.6
percent), and the Middle East (16.2 percent) posted a double digit growth rate compared to the previous year. The
exports to the EU (European Union) shrank 3.2 percent on-year in the aftermath of the Eurozone fiscal crisis. By item,
exports of telecommunication devices showed a steep rise (32.8 percent) driven by the stronger growth the Galaxy Note
2 and Optimus G exports.
The nation’s trade balance posted a surplus but experienced an acute decline. Trade balance in January reached
$874 million, a record low figure since last February. Japanese government’s efforts to devalue the yen led to an acute
fall in trade balance instead of drop in exports, experts analyzed.
“Exports in January increased but the growth pace of daily export volume is slowing down as the stronger
appreciation of the won have an influence on exports,” said an official of the MKE. “Worryingly, the depreciation of the
Japanese yen could undercut the Korean companies’ export competitiveness and worsen profitability.”
S. Korean carmakers’ exports to EU swing to contraction last year amid recession
Exports of all five South Korean carmakers to the European Union (EU) swung to contraction due to the fiscal crisis
in Europe and the subsequent global recession last year.
The nation’s automakers exported 388,223 cars to the EU last year, down 6.5 percent from 426,057 cars of last year,
said the domestic car industry. The carmakers’ exports to the EU soared 42.8 percent on-year in 2011 from that of 2010
as the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into effect.
The automakers’ shipments bound for the EU had been forecast to continue to rise last year under the FTA, but the
shipments declined because the fiscal crisis in the EU members slashed the demand for automobiles, said the Korea
Automobiles Manufacturers Association (KAMA). The demand for cars in the EU dropped 8.2 percent to 12.05 million
units in 2012 from 13.13 million units in 2011.
But Korean companies including Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors continue to record large sales by increasing their
local production in Europe. Hyundai Motor, which has a production plant in the Czech Republic, sold 251,518 cars in
2011 and 303,013 cars last year, up 20.5 percent on-year. Kia Motors also sold 292,000 cars that were produced at a plant
in Slovakia, up 15.8 percent on-year last year. The combined exports of the five domestic carmakers totaled 3.17 million
units in 2012, up 0.6 percent on-year. The exports were valued at a record-high $43.63 billion.