Seoul, Oct 1 (efe-epa).- South Korea’s trade surplus rose to $8.8 billion in September, its highest level in two years, owing to the recovery of semiconductor and automobile exports.
Exports, among the top contributors to the country’s GDP, grew by 7.7 percent to $48 billion, their first increase in seven months, according to data published by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Thursday.
The authorities attributed this increase to the recovery of chip and automobile exports following a gradual resumption of activities by the main trading partners of the Asian country amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The growth exceeded analysts’ expectations, which expected South Korean exports to grow below 3 percent.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s imports in the ninth month of 2020 increased by 1.1 percent to $39.1 billion.
The chip sector, which accounts for one-fifth of the country’s total exports, was among those that contributed to the recovery of South Korean exports with a growth of 11.8 percent in September.
The automobile sector was another, posting a year-on-year growth of 23.2 percent, marking the first increase in six months for a sector that has been affected by global border closures and falling demand among consumers due to the pandemic.
Machinery exports expanded for the first time since the start of the pandemic to grow at 0.8 percent.
Exports of electronic devices and components increased by 30.2 percent compared to the previous year while those of batteries rose by 21.1 percent.
Healthcare product exports jumped by 80 percent in September and those of computers grew by 66.8 percent, with an increasing number of people working from home around the world.
Exports to China, the largest trading partner of the country, increased by 8.2 percent while those to the United States – South Korea’s second-largest trading partner – rose by 23.3 percent.
Exports to the European Union increased by 4.3 percent and, to neighboring Japan, exports declined by 6 percent. EFE-EPA