Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Eun-joo
South Korea’s exports of general machinery topped $50 billion this year for the first time, thanks to a rise in demand in key markets China and the U.S. with the booming manufacturing and construction markets, as well as emerging markets such as India, government data showed Thursday.
According to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Thursday, this year’s cumulative exports of general machinery as of Dec. 7 exceeded the $50 billion threshold seven years after its exports topped $40 billion. It has become the country’s fourth export item to mark the $50 billion milestone after semiconductors in 2010, as well as petrochemicals and vessels each in 2011.
Monthly exports of general machinery this year surpassed $4 billion for nine straight months, thanks to the steady rise in demand.
The ministry attributed the growth to the recovery in the manufacturing and construction industries in major export markets such as China and the U.S. and the rising demand from emerging markets, in particular India.
By region, exports of general machinery jumped 23.6 percent on year in China in the first 11 months of this year, 18.8 percent in the U.S., 22.6 percent in the European Union, 6.3 percent in Japan, and 57.2 percent in India.
By item, exports of construction equipment jumped 19.9 percent in the January-November period from a year ago, machine tools 10.5 percent, molds 1.3 percent, and agricultural machinery 8.4 percent.
The trade ministry will continue to put out efforts to address growing challenges in the export front amid escalating trade tensions between Korea’s two major trading partners China and the U.S. to maintain export growth momentum next year.
It will also promote technology development to diversify export items in line with changing industry trends. As part of its plan, the government is carrying out a 200 billion won ($178 million) preliminary feasibility study that involves the development of smart construction machinery to cope with paradigm changes, the official said.