SEOUL ⸺ South Korean exports marked a fourth consecutive month of double-digit growth in June, albeit at a reduced pace, propelled by solid economic recovery in major markets globally and continued strong demand for memory chips and cars.
Exports surged 39.7% in June versus the same month a year earlier, reaching the third-biggest value on record at $54.80 billion, trade ministry data showed on Thursday. That beat the 33.6% average of 17 economist estimates in a Reuters poll, and marked the eighth consecutive month of expansion.
Exports grew 45.6% in May, the sharpest increase since August 1988.
The nation’s monthly trade data is a closely watched as it is the first released among major exporting economies and so widely considered a bellwether for global trade.
Overseas sales of semiconductors, the country’s top export, grew for the 12th month in a row, by 34.4%, while those of cars and petrochemical products surged 62.5% and 68.5% respectively.
By destination, exports to China, the United States and the European Union soared 14.3% and 51.9% and 65.3% each, while those to South Korea’s six other major trading partners also increased.
Thursday’s data also showed imports grew 40.7% in June, beating forecasts for a 33.0% jump. The trade surplus stood at $4.44 billion, versus $2.94 billion a month earlier.
Earlier this week, the finance ministry sharply upgraded its 2021 growth forecast to an 11-year high of 4.2%, with an 18.5% jump in exports towing the expansion.
Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Christopher Cushing; Reuters