South Korean exports in the first 20 days of this month increased at the fastest pace in more than two years, as global trade recovered and a worldwide shortage of chips boosted prices of the country’s core trade product.
Exports rose 16.7 percent during the period, the most since October 2018, as sales of semiconductors jumped, the South Korean Customs Service reported yesterday.
Overall, average daily shipments increased by an even bigger margin, because the period had fewer working days this year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Photo: EPA-EFE/ YONHAP
The report indicates a recovery in overseas demand is well under way, as vaccination drives pick up speed in major markets.
The data also comes after Taiwan on Saturday forecast the nation would clock the fastest economic growth in seven years this year as a global scramble for semiconductors boosts its exports.
Some economists warned that sales of the chips that have supported South Korea’s exports could slow, as the COVID-19 pandemic passes and demand for work and study from home solutions reverts back to something closer to pre-virus days.
“The so-called untact culture has so far helped drive chips, but there’s also a chance vaccinations and new spending by chipmakers may slow down the rally,” Hi Investment & Securities Co analyst Song Myung-sup said, referring to technologies that help people maintain social distance. “The chip shortage is likely to deepen at least until the end of the first half.”
Sales of semiconductors jumped 27.5 percent in the first 20 days of the month, as a worsening shortfall accelerated orders and pushed up the prices of chips used to produce everything from cars to touch screens.
The momentum in exports contrasts with deteriorating economic conditions at home, with the unemployment rate jumping to the highest in more than two decades last month.
The Bank of Korea is expected to consider the uneven recovery as its board convenes this week for a rate decision.
The overall picture for exports was more positive when looking at the value of daily shipments, which gained 29.2 percent. The period had 1.5 fewer working days than last year due to the shifting dates of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Shipments to China, South Korea’s largest overseas market, surged 32.7 percent from a year earlier during the first 20 days of the month. Exports to the US rose 14 percent, while sales to the EU jumped 53.6 percent.
Tesla Inc temporarily halted some production at its auto assembly plant in California because of problems with its supply chain, but work has begun to resume, CEO Elon Musk told employees in an e-mail on Thursday. “We are experiencing some parts supply issues, so took the opportunity to bring Fremont production down for a few days to do equipment upgrades and maintenance,” Musk said in an all-staff message seen by Bloomberg. The factory was “back up and running as of yesterday,” and would rapidly ramp up to full production of Model 3 and Model Y cars “over the next several days,”
PUNCTURE-PROOF: Air Fom tires are made of material used in sports shoe soles and offer a comfortable ride, although people are still skeptical about solid tires Getting a flat tire is a nightmare for cyclists, sending home early any rider who had ventured outdoors without a repair kit or spare inner tubes. Although punctured tires have long been a pain point for cyclists, the problem has never been effectively resolved, despite the bicycle industry going back centuries. A few products have been developed to help reduce the likelihood of flat tires: puncture-resistant tires, which are thicker than usual tires or come with a protective layer; anti-puncture tapes, which are placed between the tire and inner tube to offer extra protection; and tubeless systems that use sealant to close
LONG-TERM PLAN: The company expects growth in revenue from its automotive business this year and that it would contribute meaningfully to sales from 2023 Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) new electric vehicle (EV) platform is expected to help launch vehicles later this year, chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) said on Saturday, signifying major progress in the electronics giant’s push into the automotive industry. Two light vehicles designed using the company’s MIH Open Platform would be unveiled in the fourth quarter, Liu told reporters at the company’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城). Hon Hai might at the same time also help launch an electric bus, he said. Hon Hai has been seeking to expand its automotive capabilities at a time when technology companies including
The production value of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry grew 20.9 percent year-on-year to NT$3.22 trillion (US$113.6 billion) last year, and it is expected to build on that performance this year, the Industrial Technology Research Institute’s (工研院) Industry, Science and Technology International Strategy Center said yesterday. The global semiconductor market grew 6.8 percent to US$440.4 billion last year, boosted by robust demand from the digital transformation and growing stay-at-home economy seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the center said. That strength is likely to carry over to this year, leading to an 8.6 percent increase in domestic output to a new record NT$3.49 trillion,