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작성일 : 10-09-02 08:54
2010 trade surplus to be $32 billion
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Government sets new target as exports continue to surge

Korea posted a trade surplus for the seventh consecutive month in August, at $2.07 billion, the Ministry
of Knowledge Economy said yesterday.

Exports rose 29.6 percent on-year to $37.52 billion, while imports gained 29.3 percent to $35.45 billion.

The August trade surplus was smaller than the $5.51 billion surplus in July, which was the third highest on record.

Korea became the world’s seventh biggest exporter for the first time in the first half of the year, up from ninth place. The government expects the total trade surplus will amount to $32 billion this year.

The decline in the August trade surplus was mainly caused by a fall in the exports of ships and mobile phones because many workers were on holiday in August. Export growth normally recovers in September.

The August trade surplus was the smallest since March at $1.82 billion. Foreign demand for semiconductors, liquid crystal displays and oil products remained steady from July.

Shipments of semiconductors rose 59.6 percent on-year to $4.59 billion from a year earlier, while auto exports increased by 27.5 percent to $2.18 billion. In contrast, exports of ships fell 10.8 percent, while exports of mobile telecommunication equipment fell 22.8 percent.

Imports also rose because of increased domestic demand for raw materials, including oil, natural gas and
coal, as well as capital goods and consumer goods.

Exports to China, Korea’s largest trading partner, increased 29.9 percent, while shipments to the United
States rose by 49.4 percent, Japan by 45.3 percent, Southeast Asia by 32.8 percent and the EU by 30.1 percent.

Korean exports have continuously risen since November 2009, and the government has revised upward
its trade surplus target to $32 billion from $23 billion.

The government estimates exports this year will grow by 26 percent on-year to $458 billion, while imports will rise 32 percent to $426 billion. Exports in the second half is forecast to grow by 19 percent from a
year earlier to $236.5 billion, while imports will rise by 25 percent to $22.2 billion.

Korea could see a record import deficit with Japan this year. Japan is a key source of machinery and industrial components for local manufacturers.

Korea’s position as the world’s seventh biggest exporter in the first half was only surpassed by China, the U.S., Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and France.

“Based on current trends, Korea will likely advance to become the world’s eighth biggest exporter at the
end of this year,” said Kim Kyung-sik, assistant minister for trade and investment. He expected the trade
surplus in September will be larger than in August, but because of the Chuseok holiday it won’t be as large as a year ago.

While the overall global economy is expected to grow in the coming months, financial uncertainties in some European countries and concerns over China’s growth slowdown may affect Korea’s trade volume, the ministry said.