US to outstrip China as top export destination for S Korea for 1st time in 22 years

Seoul: South Korea’s exports to the United States exceeded those to China so far this year, data showed on Monday, raising the possibility that the US could be the top export destination for South Korea for the first time in 22 years.

Outbound shipments to the US amounted to $53.3 billion from January through May 2024, compared with South Korea’s export value to China of $52.69 billion, according to data from Statistics Korea and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

If the current trend continues, the US will be the No. 1 export destination for South Korea for the first time since 2002, reports Yonhap news agency.

Last year, China was the largest export destination for South Korea with an export value of $124.81 billion, followed by the US with $115.71 billion. The gap was the smallest in 19 years.

Exports by South Korean large conglomerates to the US already surpassed those to China for the first time in 20 years in 2023.

South Korea’s exports to the US have been on a constant increase in recent years. They advanced 5.4 per cent on-year to reach a record high last year on the back of growing exports of cars and rechargeable batteries.

But exports to China had fallen for two years in a row after hitting an all-time high of $162.91 billion in 2021 amid China’s sagging manufacturing sector.

In a recent report, the Bank of Korea said that exports to the US are forecast to continue an upturn driven by solid consumption among US consumers and the expansion of South Korean entities’ investment in the US.

But there have also been signs that the Chinese economy is recovering gradually, which could boost its demand for South Korean goods and services.



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