South Korea registered a trade surplus of 2,710 million dollars in February, the tenth consecutive month of positive balance of the indicator that, nevertheless, marked a reduction of 33.9% year-on-year, reported this Monday his Government.
South Korean exports rose 9.5% from February 2020, to $ 44.8 billion, thanks to chip and car shipments and a recovery in business sentiment as covid-19 vaccination spreads, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.
Imports grew 13.9% in the second month of 2021, to $ 42.1 billion.
Chip shipments increased 13.2% in February, its eighth consecutive month of increase; while vehicle sales outside the country soared 47% year-on-year.
The recovery in oil prices helped improve exports of petrochemicals and crude oil products. Shipments of petrochemical products increased 22.4% from a year earlier, while those of petroleum products were down 15.2%, their smallest contraction since April 2020.
The strong demand for covid test kits was one of the factors that contributed to the 62.5% year-on-year growth of exports related to the health sector.
By country, exports to China increased by 26.5% year-on-year and those to the United States by 7.9%. These countries are South Korea’s main trading partners and account for around 40% of its shipments.
Exports to the European Union soared 48.2%.
Experts hope that the covid vaccination campaigns, which began in South Korea last Friday, will accelerate the recovery of exports this year.
South Korean shipments fell 5.4% year-on-year in 2020, the year in which the Asian country’s economy fell 1%, its sharpest contraction since the 1997 financial crisis.
The South Korean central bank last week improved its prospects for 2021, the year in which it expects exports to grow by 7.1%, and maintained its growth prospects for gross domestic product (GDP) at 3%, although it did not rule out a review based on the evolution of the pandemic.
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