South Korea's Exports Surpass Economic Projections in February 2024

South Korea's exports in February 2024 have exceeded economic projections, fueled by a surge in semiconductor demand, despite a decline in vehicle sales.

According to data from the South Korean Ministry of Trade, reported by Reuters on Friday (March 1), South Korea's exports in February reached US$52.41 billion, equivalent to Rp822.8 trillion, marking a 4.8% growth compared to the same period in 2023 (year on year/yoy).

While economists surveyed by Reuters had previously projected a 1.9% annual growth in the country with the fourth-largest economy in Asia, the actual figures surpassed expectations. This achievement marks the fifth consecutive month of export growth.

Although the growth rate declined from January's 18% year-on-year increase, the adjusted February export growth due to differences in working days reached 12.6%. This figure exceeds January's export growth of 5.7%.

February of this year had fewer working days compared to the previous year, as the Lunar New Year holiday fell in February.

The strong export growth during the adjusted holiday period indicates a 66.7% surge in chip sales. Exports of other high-value products also remained robust.

These conditions strengthen the view that the recovery in South Korea's export sales this year can help support overall economic growth.

In terms of destinations, shipments to neighboring China decreased by around 2.4%, while shipments to the United States surged by 9.0%.

This year, South Korea aims to achieve exports of US$700 billion. The achievement until February marks a significant milestone for the country to reach its target.

The export results in the second month are the result of joint efforts by the government and business players to enhance export activities in key sectors, including semiconductors, automobiles, and factories.

To achieve this year's ambitious export sales target, the South Korean government has launched a comprehensive strategy by identifying 20 key export items and strategic target markets.

Moreover, trade financing has been significantly increased to support major projects and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

A crucial shift is the transformation of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) into a cross-ministerial export support platform, thus promoting increased collaboration among ministries.

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