Exports of small firms in S. Korea hit record high in 2018

SEOUL, Mar 12, 2019, Yonhap. Exports of small and medium-sized South Korean firms hit a record high of US$108.7 billion last year, government data showed Tuesday, due to the robust global manufacturing sector, reported the Yonhap.

The figures represent a 2.5 percent increase from 2017, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. It was the second straight year that the export volume of small and medium-sized firms surpassed $100 billion.

By product, plastic goods remained the top export item for the second consecutive year with $5.1 billion worth of exports, down 2.8 percent from 2017.

Exports of cosmetics rose 24.8 percent on-year to $4.6 billion in 2018 amid the growing popularity of Korean beauty products in the United States, China and Russia.

Outbound shipments of flat panel-making equipment surged 63.7 percent on-year to reach $2.9 billion, with those of chipmaking equipment rising 28.4 percent to $2.9 billion over the cited period, the ministry said.

In contrast, exports of auto parts declined 8.5 percent on-year to $4.3 billion due to less demand amid rising demand for electric cars. Machinery exports also dropped 16 percent to $2.7 billion.

Outbound shipments to China by small and medium-sized South Korean companies rose 11.2 percent on-year in 2018, and their exports to the U.S. gained 5.1 percent.

The number of small and medium-sized exporters hit a record high of 94,285 in 2018, and their combined exports accounted for 18 percent of the country’s total last year, down 0.5 percentage point from a year earlier.

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