China has replaced the U.S. as the largest export market for South Korea, a report showed.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy, South Korea's exports to China surged 47.3 percent year-on-year to U.S. $ 23.1 billion until Sept. 20 this year.
In the same period, the nation's U.S.-bound exports edged down 0.2 percent to $22.8 billion, making China the No. 1 market for South Korean exports, the Ministry said.
South Korea exported $2.96 billion to China in July, compared to $2.5 billion shipped to the U.S. -- the first month that saw more South Korean shipments to China than the U.S.
In the first 6 months, Korean exports to China amounted to $14.99 billion, falling slightly behind $15.99 billion to the U.S. However, shipments to China picked up between July and September, reversing the ranking.
China and the U.S. now account for 17.7 percent and 17.5 percent of South Korea's overall exports, respectively.
Computers topped the list of exports to China with $2.06 billion in the first 8 months, up 76.6 percent from a year ago.
Wireless communications equipment followed with $1.99 billion, steel plates with $1.48 billion, synthetic resins with $1.25 billion, and petrochemicals with $1.09 billion.
Semiconductors, electronic tubes, petrochemicals materials, and automotive components were also included in the nation's top-ten export goods to China.
"At the current pace, China will be certain to emerge as South Korea's top export market for the first time on the yearly basis," said a ministry official.
Last week, the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade said that South Korea's dependence of exports on the Chinese market, including Hong Kong, rose to 24.2 percent this year from 20.8 percent last year.
The Institute said China was the biggest contributor to South Korea's rapid export growth this year which reached 47 percent in the first seven months of the year. China's contribution during the period was estimated at 47.7 percent, it said. (Asia Pulse, Yonhap)
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