South Korea Exports Grew 20.6% in February, First Trade Surplus in 3 Months

South Korean exports increased 20.6 percent in February, beating forecasts as the country’s trade balance returns positive.

Outbound shipments were at $53.91 billion last month, up from $44.71 billion in the same month last year, according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The figure is the highest for February since the first compiling of data in 1956.

A surge in exports of semiconductors by 24 percent fueled the increase, along with petrochemicals, oil and steel products that went up 24.7 percent, 66.2 percent and 40.1 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, imports jumped 25.1 percent in February to $53.07 billion. The jump was mainly due to higher energy prices, with energy items totaling $12.5 billion.

The trade balance went up to a $0.84 billion profit, the first in three months following a $4.83 billion deficit in January.

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