Industry Information

Title Korea Ind. Materials Trade Surplus Hits Record High
Manager Ralphy Song Department in charge Exhibition Managment Team
Contact 02-3459-0028 Date 2018-05-03 09:50:01.167

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Korea Ind. Materials Trade Surplus Hits Record High
US$30.8 Billion During First Quarter


The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on April 19 that trade surplus in industrial materials and components in the first quarter of 2018 set a record US$30.8 billion.

Exports of 11 types of materials and components rose 13.3% year-on-year to US$74.4 billion, the second highest value of all-time. Exports of both materials and components achieved double-digit growths of 14.0% and 13.0%, respectively.

Imports in this sector grew to US$43.6 billion, up 8.2% from the same period of 2017.

Since 2002, statistics on the Korean materials and components industry have been produced based on the eighth edition of the Korean Standard Statistical Classification (KSIC) which classifies items into 12 major categories (five materials and seven components). In the meantime, the KSIC has been updated to the 10th edition after two revisions (once in 2008 and again in 2017). To reflect this change, the Ministry revised its classification for statistics on materials and components.

Among the previous 12 major categories, the five materials (textiles, chemical products, rubber and plastics, non-metallic minerals, primary metals) remained the same while the seven components (fabricated metals, general machinery components, computer and office equipment components, electromechanical components, electronic components, precision instrument components, and transport machinery components) were reduced to six (processed metals, general machinery components, electrical equipment components, electronic components, precision instrument components, and transport machinery components).

A breakdown of exports showed that outbound shipments of electronic components and chemical products led growth as they jumped 24.8% to US$31.3 billion and 15.6% to US$12.2 billion, respectively. Memory semiconductors were particularly in strong demand: sophistication of information technology devices increased demand for NAND flash memory chips and greater need for servers created larger demand for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips.

Exports of primary metals also saw growth, up 16.7% to US$6.9 billion. Higher international steel prices were largely responsible for this increase.

Meanwhile, exports of transport machinery components went down 12.0% to US$6.5 billion. This decline is primarily due to sluggish sales of finished Korean cars in key economies such as the U.S. and China that resulted a fall in production at Korean automakers’ plants in those countries.

By region, exports to all major markets except Central and South America and the Middle East increased from a year earlier.