Korean exports hit record $600 bln in 2018
Jan. 10, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Jung Joori and Lee Hana
Korea last year saw exports reach a record-high USD 600 billion, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on Jan. 1.
Exports in 2018 reached USD 605.5 billion, up 5.5 percent from the previous year’s USD 573.7 billion. Import volume also surged 11.8 percent during the same period from USD 478.5 billion to USD 535 billion.
Overall trade volume surpassed USD 1 trillion while the trade surplus amounted to USD 70.5 billion, marking the tenth consecutive year that Korea exported more than it imported.
Trade Minister Sung Yun-mo said, “These results are thanks to the determination and hard work of our businesses even in the face of many challenges. This year, we will continue to take action against trade disputes involving the U.S. and China while expanding our economic and political reach in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). We promise to exceed USD 600 billion again in 2019 for the second consecutive year.”
Overseas shipments of semiconductors, general machinery and petrochemicals played a key role in last year’s record-breaking growth. The export figure for memory chips hit USD 126.7 billion and that of petrochemicals USD 50.1 billion, both record highs for the respective industries, while general machinery saw USD 53.6 billion.
China, Korea’s biggest market, saw a 14.2-percent surge in Korean exports from USD 142.1 billion to USD 162.2 billion over the period.
Korean exports to the U.S. rose six percent to USD 72.7 billion and those to ASEAN member countries grew 5.3 percent to USD 100.3 billion. Vietnam, one of ASEAN’s largest markets, saw Korean exports increase 1.8 percent to USD 4.86 billion to secure the No. 3 spot on Korea’s export list after China and the U.S.