Junio 28, 2021 (The Korea Herald) The country's overseas shipments are likely to come to $601.7 billion this year, up 17.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the report from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
It will mark the second time after 2018 that exports of Asia's fourth-largest economy will exceed $600 billion per year.
South Korea's imports are projected to jump 26 percent on-year to $591.2 billion in 2021, resulting in a trade surplus of $10.6 billion.
The country's trade volume will reach $1.19 trillion this year, compared with $980.1 billion the previous year.
The report said exports of chips and other major items will likely remain robust in the second half of the year as the recovery of major economies gathers momentum amid wider vaccination programs worldwide.
"South Korea's exports are expected to post solid growth in the latter half following robust first-half performances," the report said.
Overseas shipments of semiconductors are forecast to hover above $100 billion in the July-December period thanks to growing global demand and rising export prices.
Exports of petroleum products are predicted to spike more than 67 percent, with those of petrochemicals likely to jump 47 percent.
Overseas shipments of autos and auto parts are estimated to expand 6 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The report said the country's auto production came to a monthly average of 298,000 units in the January-May period of the year, close to the pre-pandemic level of 330,000 in 2019.
The report, however, said South Korea's exports could face such negative factors as the possible worsening of Sino-American relations and an intensified conflict in the introduction of a digital tax in the European Union.
"South Korea needs to diversify its key export items to include electric vehicles and bio-health products to keep its overseas shipments brisk over the mid and long haul," it said. "In addition, more efforts should be made to bolster the competitiveness of existing flagship goods."