By Min Yea-Ji and Yoon Sojung
Major economic indicators have shown that the Korean economy is relatively healthy.
The Bank of Korea on Dec. 6 released data saying the country in October enjoyed its 80th straight month of trade surplus, the longest in Korea’s modern history. Gross national income (GNI) in the third quarter was also higher than in the second.
Korea in October recorded a trade surplus of USD 9.19 billion according to the balance of payments.
Thanks to robust exports, Korea’s annual cumulative trade surplus on Nov. 16 broke USD 1 trillion in the shortest period in history, with foreign direct investment hitting an all-time high on Nov. 27. Korea’s current account also finished in the black for the 80th month in a row dating back to March 2012.
Petroleum products, machinery and precision instruments helped the country post a record-high export volume in the third quarter of USD 57.24 billion, up 28.8 percent year-on-year. An improved travel account balance also reduced the service account deficit to a level lower than in the same period last year.
In the third quarter, GDP inched up 0.6 percent and GNP rose 0.7 percent from the previous quarter.
By sector, manufacturing recorded the highest growth with 2.3 percent, mainly led by electrical and electronic instruments including semiconductors. Such growth was the highest for manufacturing during the past year.
As of November, Korea’s foreign reserves, a barometer of the country’s international credit standing, amounted to USD 402.99 billion, USD 240 million more than in the previous month. Korea’s FX holdings in late October ranked eighth in the world, with China, Japan and Switzerland comprising the top three in that order.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Paik Ungyu (eighth from right) poses for a group photo with staff at Korean Air’s cargo terminal at Incheon International Airport on Jan. 1.
(Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy)
By Kim Tae Won and Kim Young Shin
Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Paik Ungyu visited the air cargo terminal at Incheon International Airport on Jan. 1 to give encouragement to the workers there. During his visit, he said that this year’s goal is to attain 4 percent growth in exports.
“There are risk factors, such as a strong Korean won, high interest rates, an increased oil price and geopolitical uncertainties,” said the minister, "but we will put all our efforts into the first half of the year to take preemptive action against those risks and to maintain rising exports.”
According to a report released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on the same day, Korea’s exports in 2017 jumped 15.9 percent to USD 574.1 billion, an all-time high. This is also the first time in three years that Korea saw overall trade figures higher than USD 1 trillion. Also, the WTO report released in November 2017 said that Korea’s total exports added up to 3.6 percent of the world's total number of exports, and that Korea ranked sixth in terms of exporters around the world.
“Amid such difficult situations, as North’s nuclear weapons threats, Korea could only achieve such economic success thanks to our citizen’s power. The diversification of our export items and the expansion of our export markets both helped increase our exports.”
Korea’s media exports in the second quarter of 2017 were worth USD 1.53 billion, 15.4 percent higher than exports during the same period last year, announced the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Creative Content Agency. The photo shows the annual video game fair G-Star in Busan in November 2016. (Yonhap News)