By Kwanwoo Jun
South Korea’s exports grew 25.8% in 2021, with strong demand for semiconductors, petrochemicals and other goods, its annual shipment growth hitting an 11-year high.
The fastest annual export growth since 2010 in Asia’s fourth-largest economy is the latest sign of a recovery from the pandemic-induced slowdown in global trade.
According to preliminary data released by the trade ministry on Saturday, exports accelerated their annual growth for the 14th consecutive month, rising 18.3 per cent from a year ago to $60.74 billion in December.
The average forecast for five economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal was for growth of 19.8%.
Demand for computer chips, petroleum products and machinery remained strong in December, with exports to almost all major markets including the US, European Union and China.
Imports rose 37.4% to $61.32 billion after a 43.6% jump in November, resulting in a trade deficit of $586 million.
The average forecast in the survey was a 35.0% increase in imports and a $2.00 billion surplus for December.
For the full year, exports rose 25.8% to an annual record of $644.54 billion, while imports rose 31.5% to $615.05 billion. The trade surplus in 2021 was $29.49 billion.
South Korea’s export-driven economy is projected by the central bank and government to expand by 4.0% in 2021.
Write to Kwanwoo Jun at [email protected]