SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports rose 32.8 percent on-year in the first 20 days of July on the back of robust demand for chips, autos and petroleum products, customs data showed Wednesday.
The country’s outbound shipments stood at US$32.6 billion in the July 1-20 period, compared with $24.5 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Imports increased 46.1 percent on-year to $36.5 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $3.9 billion during the cited period, the data showed.
By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, rose 33.9 percent on-year, and those of autos increased 28.4 percent despite global supply shortages of automotive chips.
Semiconductors accounted for about 20 percent of exports by South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chipmaker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc. Autos made up around 7 percent of total exports.
Exports of petroleum products jumped 69.1 percent on-year as oil prices rose amid a global economic recovery.
By country, shipments to China — South Korea’s largest trading partner — rose 18.6 percent on-year, and those to the United States increased 38.9 percent.
The South Korean economy has been on a recovery track on the back of robust exports and reviving consumption. Asia’s fourth-largest economy contracted 0.9 percent last year due to the fallout of the pandemic.
Exports, which account for half of the economy, jumped 39.7 percent on-year in June, extending their gains to the eighth straight month.
Last month, the government revised up its 2021 growth outlook for the Korean economy to an 11-year high of 4.2 percent from its earlier forecast of 3.2 percent. The Bank of Korea expected economic growth of 4 percent.