SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- South Korean exports of information technology (IT) products grew for the first time in six months due to solid demand for display panels and system chips, a government report showed Tuesday.
Exports of locally-manufactured IT products reached 13.04 billion U.S. dollars in August, up 0.1 percent from the same month of last year, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. For the first eight months of this year, the exports amounted to 99.07 billion dollars, down 4.1 percent from the same period of 2011.
The August figure was the first rebound in six months and marked the largest monthly export in 2012 in contrast to overall exports that weakened amid worsening external conditions from the prolonged European fiscal crisis.
Excluding the item of handsets that are increasing production in overseas factories, exports in the IT industry kept the solid growth trend for four months in a row, the ministry said.
Trade surplus in the IT sector reached 6.85 billion dollars in August, more than three times the surplus of 2.04 billion dollars for all industries. It was due mainly to steeper drop in IT imports that came to 6.19 billion dollars, down 12.8 percent from a year before.
Among major export items, memory chips and handsets showed underperformance, but display panels, system chips and home appliances saw their shipment growth last month.
Handset exports tumbled 26.6 percent on-year to 1.52 billion dollars in August. South Korea ranked first in terms of global market share of smartphone for five straight quarters in the second quarter, but mobile phone exports dropped over 20 percent for 10 straight months due to local handset makers' expansion in overseas production.
Exports of semiconductors edged down 0.4 percent on-year to 4.1 billion dollars in August. Shipment of memory chips declined 10.7 percent to 1.56 billion dollars, but the decline was offset by solid demand for system chips, of which exports expanded 12.1 percent to 1.95 billion dollars, logging the on-year growth trend for 36 months in a row.
Shipment of display panels jumped 12.5 percent on-year to 2.83 billion dollars last month, keeping a growth trend for two straight months. The growth was attributed to global price stabilization and solid demand from China.
Exports of computer and computer-related products such as printers and monitors retreated 1.1 percent to 710 million dollars last month due to the global PC market slump.
Outbound shipment of TVs dropped 19.3 percent on-year to 620 million dollars in August amid weak demand for TV globally, but exports of home appliances expanded 2.6 percent to 380 million dollars thanks to strong demand for air-conditioners amid extreme heat wave globally.
By country, exports to China, including Hong Kong, grew 5.8 percent on-year to 6.79 billion dollars in August, with shipment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expanding 5. 1 percent to 1.43 billion dollars.
Shipments to Japan, the United States and the European Union ( EU) declined 0.5 percent, 11.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively over the cited period.