SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports of chips and automobiles are anticipated to maintain stable growth down the road, according to a report on Saturday, as major trade partners continued to resume their business activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Buoyant global demand for chips has led to severe shortages in some areas, suggesting that exports will remain elevated for some time as customers scramble to replenish stocks,” Alex Holmes, an economist at industry tracker Capital Economics, said in a report.
In March, outbound shipments of chips expanded 8.6 percent on-year to reach the highest level in 28 months, as global data centers expanded their servers, with the average price of chips gathering ground on supply shortages.
The country’s exports jumped 45.4 percent on-year in the first 20 days of April, with those of semiconductors jumping 38.2 percent over the period.
Chips account for roughly 20 percent of South Korean exports.
The automobile segment also posted better-than-expected performance despite looming concerns over the global shortage of automotive chips.
“The disruption to automotive production lines elsewhere from global chip shortages may even be benefiting Korea’s relatively-less-affected car industry, as consumers choose models with shorter lead times,” the Capital Economics report said.
Over the first 20 days of April, exports of cars are estimated to have jumped 55 percent on-year. Outbound shipments of automobiles had slipped 13 percent on-year in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a harsh blow to consumer sentiment.
“Further ahead, some of the strength in exports is likely to fade as rapid vaccination rollouts in the rest of the world usher in a return to normality and a switch in spending patterns away from imported goods, particularly electronics,” the report said.
“But in the short term at least, we expect export values to remain elevated,” it added.
South Korea will announce its full monthly trade data on May 1.