South Korea Exports Gain as Annual Shipments Reach Record
Gains in South Korea’s exports in December helped push the value of shipments to an annual record, as global demand held up through multiple waves of Covid infections.
Exports rose 18.3% from a year earlier, the trade ministry said Saturday, slowing from a 32% increase in November. Economists had expected a gain of 23.9%. Imports climbed 37.4%.
The value of exports reached $644.5 billion in 2021, surpassing a previous high of $605 billion in 2018, according to the trade ministry.
Korean manufacturers have been among the biggest beneficiaries of a pandemic-induced boom in tech spending, as intermittent lockdowns and restrictions diverted global consumption toward high-end products.
Exports have been crucial in upholding Korea’s economy since the onset of the pandemic. For 2022, the government expects the pace of export gains to slow sharply to just 2%, partly due to a high base of comparison but also as spending patterns normalize.
Overseas shipments to China rose 20.8% in December from a year earlier, while those to the U.S. gained 22.9%. Sales to Southeast Asian countries increased 23.2%.
Total semiconductor exports rose 35.1% year-on-year in December. Petrochemical shipments were up 34.3%, while agricultural and fishery products gained 19.8%.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.