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Trade surplus declining: KITA

Posted August. 04, 2000 19:29,   


Reports show the nation¡¯s trade surplus has sharply declined from a year ago. The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) announced on August 4 that exports in this year¡¯s first half amounted to US$82.8 billion, up 25.5% from a year earlier, while imports reached US$78.6 billion, a 44.7% rise. As a result, the trade surplus for the period reached only US$4.2 billion, or 57% of the US$7.4 billion recorded in the first half of 1999. KITA explained that electronic products such as computers and semiconductors, together with petrochemical products and heavy and chemical goods, were the major driving forces behind the boost in exports in the first half of this year. In particular, affected by hikes in international oil prices, petrochemical product exports posted an impressive growth of 95% year-on-year to reach US$4.1 billion.

Semiconductors also enjoyed a healthy 31.8% gain year-on-year in overseas sales, registering US$11.9 billion. The surge in semiconductor exports was largely a result of lower stabilized prices in the world¡¯s chip market, coupled with the boom in the global info-communications industry.

On the import front, the energy and info-communications sectors led growth. Imports of computers and wired communications equipment in particular surged by 137.8% and 194.0%, respectively, from a year earlier.

The KITA recently warned that the nation may suffer from a deteriorating export environment in the second half of this year due to falling foreign exchange rates and the declining profitability of local firms.