South korean exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods jumped 25.9 percent to USD 18.6 billion, the second highest on record, in November from a year earlier on strong demand for semiconductors. Exports of ICT goods increased at double-digit rates for 12 consecutive months, and reached a record-high for each respective month for 10 straight months.
Imports surged 17.1 percent year-on-year to $9.5 billion, and trade surplus in this sector stood at $9.1 billion. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in Korea, the double-digit growth in ICT exports was led by a 68.5-percent increase in outbound shipments of semiconductors, which reached $9.8 billion in November. Monthly semiconductor exports exceeded $9 billion for the third consecutive month on growing demand for servers and mobile devices as well as rising prices of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips.
Exports of computers and peripheral devices also contributed to the growth, surging 19.8 percent to $908 million. Overseas shipments of computers soared 51.5 percent to $105 million, and those of solid-state drives jumped 38.2 percent to a record $542 million. Display exports inched up 1 percent to $2.6 billion on robust demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, marking the 13th consecutive month of growth.
Meanwhile, outbound shipments of mobile phones and parts contracted 21.3 percent to $1.9 billion as Korean handset companies increasingly procure parts from overseas markets where they manufacture. Exports of mobile phones expanded on strong sales of premium smartphones.
A breakdown of ICT exports by region showed that shipments to Vietnam leaped 72.8 percent to $2.4 billion as semiconductor exports more than doubled and display exports tripled Shipments to China including Hong Kong surged 28.2 percent to an all-time high of $10.3 billion on an 83.2-percent increase in semiconductor exports worth $6.9 billion. They reached a new record for four consecutive months.
Exports to the U.S. and the European Union (EU) rose by 23.4 percent to $1.8 billion and by 20.4 percent to $922 million on higher sales of mobiles phones and semiconductors. In terms of imports, Korea shipped in more mobile phones, computers, semiconductors, and displays compared to a year earlier.
Imports of mobile phones and parts jumped 24.8 percent to $1.6 billion on a 67.2-percent growth in purchases of handsets from overseas. Inbound shipments of computers and peripheral devices expanded 21.2 percent to $1 billion with those of secondary storage up 91.2 percent to around $240 million. Imports of semiconductors and displays grew 16.7 percent to $3.7 billion and 5.6 percent to $464 million, respectively.
By region, Korea imported ICT goods worth $683 million from Vietnam – up 40.8 percent from a year ago – with much of the growth coming from a 44.7-percent increase in mobile phone shipments worth about $410 million.
Imports from China climbed 10.4 percent to $3.8 billion on more purchases of mobile phones, and computers and peripheral devices. Those from Japan and the U.S. advanced 4 percent to $1 billion and 1.7 percent to $682 million, respectively.