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Import and Export Reduced by 12 Pct Last Year

Posted January. 03, 2002 09:02,   


The total export last year was estimated to be 150.653 billion dollars, which is a 12.5 percent reduction compared to the previous year. Imports also decreased 12.1 percent with 141.116 billion dollars. Consequently, the trade balance of payment recorded 9.537 billion dollars.

According to the report of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, "The Result of Import and Export in 2001." exports last year decreased by 2.8 percent for the first time by the impact of the slowdown of IT industry and the plunge of the international semiconductor price. The surplus of the payment balance also did not reach the original goal of 10 billion dollars.

Kim Chil-Doo, director of Trade and Investment Bureau of MCIE, projected, "Exports will increase by 7.5 percent up to 162 billion dollars, leaving a 7-10 billion dollar surplus for the balance in total this year."

Computers Down and Digital Electronic Appliances Up: the computer and semiconductor market boom in 2000 led the slowdown of exports last year. The reduction of the computer and semiconductor exports marked 15 billion dollars, taking 70 percent of the total export reduction (21.6 billion dollars). The export reduction rate of the other remaining items was 3.8 percent caused by the economic recessions and excessive supply of iron and oil products.

Meanwhile, the auto market was flourishing despite the legal supervision of Daewoo Motor (0.6 percent up) and the electronic appliances such as digital TV and DVD have emerged as new staple items. The export of digital electronic appliances hiked up 14 times up to 420 million dollars from the previous year`s 30 million dollars. And the overseas plant export also recorded over 10 billion dollars for the first time in its history. The 5 major export items include semiconductors, autos, computers, wireless communication facilities, and ships. China became the second largest trade partner, surpassing Japan, which has been the first or second business partner of Korea for a long time.

Will Exports Recover This Year?: MCIE anticipates the recovery of export economy this year based on the upturning of the international market price of staple items such as semiconductors, oil products, iron products if the world economy recovers by 2 percent this year and the oil price and the foreign exchange rate becomes relatively stable.

Economic research institutions and organizations are all expecting the recovery of the world economy this year but the estimated growth rates vary from 3.7 percent (Samsung Economy Institute) to 6.0 percent (Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade). Choi Nak-Gyun, director of the Trade Investment of KIEP, anticipates that "the world trade condition is good since the U.S. economy is expected to recover from the second quarter of this year."

Yeon-Su Sin ysshin@donga.com