S. Korea’s exports to grow 4.8 percent in 2018: KOTRA

SEOUL, South Korea's exports are expected to grow by 4.8 percent on-year in 2018, fueled by strong demand for semiconductors and petrochemical products, a state-run trade promotion agency said Monday.

According to a report by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), outbound shipments could reach US$606.4 billion in the new year.

"The pace of growth will decline compared to this year, but gains will be made in both developed and emerging markets," it said.

The agency added that demand for manufactured goods and information technology-related products will help exports with easing tensions between South Korea and China to contribute to improved conditions.

Seoul and Beijing agreed earlier to normalize strained ties caused by the deployment of U.S. anti-missile defense systems in South Korea.

It said rise in crude prices will further push up trade volume numbers.

On the other hand, KOTRA said there are downside risks that Asia's fourth-largest economy needs to handle in the new year.

"Growing protectionism trends and the North Korea risk is some of the challenges facing the country," it said.

Shipments to the United States, Japan, Europe, China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations are all forecast to grow, although numbers of the Middle East and Oceania may backtrack.

By item, the latest prediction showed exports of six products could increase in the new year, with five remaining unchanged and two posting losses.

It said general machinery, semiconductors, petrochemicals, autos, computers, and steel products are all likely to do well in 2018, although ships and flat panel displays may lose ground compared to this year due to various factors.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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