South Korea exports rise for seventh month on growing chip demand

By Thomson Reuters Apr 30, 2024 | 7:55 PM

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s exports rose for a seventh straight month in April, trade data showed on Wednesday, as strong demand for chips continued to lead growth while automobile sales and U.S. shipments climbed to record highs.

Overseas sales by Asia’s fourth-largest economy rose 13.8% from the same month a year earlier to $56.26 billion, a bit higher than a rise of 13.7% tipped in a Reuters survey of economists.

It came after a 3.1% rise in the prior month, which was the slowest in the current run of gains that started in October.

Finance minister Choi Sang-mok said the data confirmed that an economic recovery was continuing, after the trade-reliant economy grew in the first quarter at the fastest pace in more than two years, beating estimates.

Exports of chips grew for a sixth consecutive month, rising 56.1%, along with gains across IT products, while sales of automobiles climbed 10.3% to post the highest-ever monthly export value of $6.79 billion.

By destination, exports to the United States extended gains for a ninth straight month, rising 24.3% to a record high of $11.4 billion, and China-bound shipments jumped 9.9%, sharply up from a 0.4% rise in the prior month.

Imports rose 5.4% in April to $54.73 billion, after a 12.3% drop in March and compared with a gain of 6.2% expected by economists. It was the first increase since February 2023.

As a result, the country posted a trade surplus of $1.53 billion in April, narrower than a $4.29 billion surplus in March.

(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Sam Holmes)