South Korea's exports are expected to exceed the US$600 billion mark for the first time ever in 2012, thanks mainly to steady demand from developing economies, a local trade organization said Tuesday.The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said outbound shipments may reach $600.5 billion with imports hitting $565.5 billion for a trade surplus of $35 billion in the new year compared to a favorable balance of $33 billion estimated for 2011.
This translates into the country shipping out an average of around $50 billion worth of goods every month.The projected export volume represents a 7.8 percent gain from $557 billion worth of goods that the country should be able to ship out this year. Imports may also rise 7.9 percent on-year in 2012 from $524.0 billion forecast for this year."Next year's exports will be helped by solid sales gains in developing economies and rise in demand for locally-made cars, auto parts and general machinery," KITA said.
It, however, said the ongoing eurozone crisis and uncertainties facing the U.S. economy will adversely affect export growth in the new year. For 2011, South Korea's outbound shipments are expected to expand 19.4 percent vis-a-vis 2010.The organization added that slowing global demand for ships and semiconductors will hurt export numbers. Market saturation will limit semiconductors sales, with general economic uncertainties affecting the shipbuilding industry as a whole.Despite sluggish growth in some sectors, KITA said that the country will be able to post its second consecutive year of two-way trade exceeding the $1 trillion mark. South Korea became the ninth-country in the world to reach the milestone this year.