Seoul, Feb 1 (efe-epa).- South Korea posted a trade surplus of $3.96 billion in January, an increase of 538.7 percent year-on-year, owing to a recovery in chip exports.
South Korea’s exports stood at some $48 billion in the first month of the year, 11.1 percent more than in the same month of 2020.
Meanwhile, imports grew at a much slower rate of 3.1 percent to stand at around $44 billion.
January’s surplus, which comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, beats most forecasts.
South Korea’s surplus in January 2020 had been greatly reduced due to the impact of the trade dispute between China and the United States.
Semiconductors were the main export of Asia’s fourth largest economy yet again.
They accounted for 18 percent of the country’s total exports, expanding by 21.6 percent year-on-year.
After recording a huge slump in exports in the first half of 2020, the South Korean economy has seen a moderate recovery since August.
However, this recovery is closely linked to the new waves of the pandemic being recorded around the world, which has led many big markets, including Europe, to re-impose restrictions.
Exports, which are the main pillar of the South Korean economy, fell by a total of 5.4 percent in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a result, the country’s GDP contracted by 1 percent, the worst setback for the country since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.
South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea, has forecast a growth of around 3 percent for the country’s economy this year, driven by the expected recovery of exports.
Exports to China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, increased by 22 percent year-on-year on account of chip and machinery exports while those to the United States – the country’s second-largest trading partner – rose by 46.1 percent due to an increase in automobile exports.
Automobile exports to the European Union also increased along with Covid-19 test kits, spearheading a 23.9 percent growth of South Korean exports to Europe. EFE-EPA