SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports jumped 45.4 percent on-year in the first 20 days of April as shipments of chips, autos and oil products remained solid amid an economic recovery, customs data showed Wednesday.
The country’s outbound shipments stood at US$30.9 billion in the April 1-20 period, compared with $21 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Imports increased 31.3 percent on-year to $33 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $2 billion during the cited period, the data showed.
By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, gained 38.2 percent on-year and those of autos jumped 54.9 percent.
Semiconductors accounted for about 20 percent of exports by South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chip maker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc. Autos made up around 7 percent of total exports.
Exports of petroleum products also soared 81.6 percent on-year as oil prices have picked up amid an economic recovery. Shipments of telecommunication products advanced 68 percent on solid demand for remote learning and work.
By country, shipments to China — South Korea’s largest trading partner — rose 35.8 percent on-year, and those to the United States gained 39.4 percent.
The South Korean economy is on a recovery track, aided by robust exports of semiconductors and vehicles.
The country’s exports, which account for half of the economy, advanced 16.6 percent on-year in March to extend their gains for the fifth consecutive month. Overseas shipments grew 12.7 percent on-year to $146.7 billion in the first quarter.
Last year, the country’s overseas shipments came to $512.8 billion, down 5.4 percent from the previous year due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, the Bank of Korea revised up its 2021 growth forecast of exports to 7.1 percent from its estimate of 5.3 percent in November.