South Korea’s trade volume is expected to surpass the US$ 1 trillion mark for the first time this year, fueled by solid export gains to Asian countries, the government said Tuesday.
The Korea Customs Service (KCS) said total outbound shipments coming into this year stood at $ 475.8 billion with imports reaching $ 450.7 billion for a total of $ 926.5 billion.
Despite mounting global economic uncertainties, two-way trade reached $ 29.8 billion in the first 10 days of November, it said, adding that at present pace, the $ 1 trillion mark will be reached in the next few weeks.
“Exports to some eurozone countries and others experiencing sluggish economic growth have been affected but trade with China, Japan and Southeast Asian countries have done well,” a KCS official said. “Trade volume should exceed $ 1 trillion late this month or early next month at the latest.”
If South Korea’s trade volume tops $ 1 trillion, it will be the ninth country in the world to reach such a milepost and second developing economy to do so after China.
Only the United States, Germany, China, Japan, France, Italy, Britain and the Netherlands have reached total trade volume topping $ 1 trillion on an annual basis.
The feat will also represent a 10,000-fold increase from $ 100 million in trade tallied in 1951.
The service said that the country’s exports were led by strong overseas sales of refined petroleum products, cars, steel, ships and industrial chemicals. Imports have increased due to domestic demand for natural resources and consumer products.
In the first 10 months of 2011, exports of refined petroleum products jumped 67.4 percent on-year to $ 43.0 billion with outbound shipments of steel, automobiles and ships all rising 20-30 percent from the previous year.