June 03, 2013 12:35
Korea achieved a trade surplus of US$6.03 billion, the biggest in 32 months, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on Saturday.
Exports in May totaled $48.37 billion, up 3.2 percent from a year ago, while imports shrank 4.8 percent to $42.34 billion.
Exports were boosted by booming IT sales, especially mobile phones and semiconductors, rising 62.5 percent from a year ago. As the demand for "smart" devices increased around the world, the price of DRAM and NAND memory chips also went up, with semiconductor revenues jumping 17.4 percent.
Sales of home appliances and textiles grew 13.4 and 8.5 percent, and of cars and car parts 6.2 percent.
But one of Korea's leading exports, petroleum products, dwindled 5.1 percent as the unit price per barrel dropped by around 8 percent.
Steel and ship exports dropped by two-digit figures with 13 and 33.3 percent.
Imports of raw materials, which account for 62 percent of the country's total imports, fell by 15.2 percent as the price of crude oil and coal declined. Imports of capital goods and consumer goods rose slightly.
Exports to Japan plunged 11.7 percent as a direct result of the weak yen. Exports to the island country have fallen by two-digit figures for four consecutive months. Exports to the EU also fell 14.6 percent.
Korea's saw a trade surplus with China of $2.65 billion, with Hong Kong of $1.25 billion, and with the U.S. of $860 million. But the country suffered massive trade deficits with the Middle East at $4.95 billion and Japan at $1.41 billion.
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