Korea's exports during the first half of this year reached an all-time high. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Tuesday that exports rose 2.6 percent on-year to US$283.6 billion, while imports rose 2.7 percent to $263.3 billion resulting in a $20.3 billion trade surplus.
Exports in June alone totaled $47.8 billion, leaving a $5.3 billion trade surplus. IT products, such as semiconductors and mobile communications devices, as well as steel and ships led exports during the first half.
But exports to China, Korea's largest export market, fell 0.1 percent, while shipments to the EU shrank in June, raising uncertainties about the months ahead.
"Exports averaged $2.28 billion a day in June, which was an all-time high, but there are still worrisome issues such as declining shipments to major markets," said Won Dong-jin at the ministry said. "The state of the Chinese economy, the won/dollar exchange rate and the civil war in Iraq are the main variables affecting Korean exports during the second half of this year."