In May, outbound shipments grew by 13.5 percent year-on-year to USD 51 billion, beating market consensus of a 12.7 percent growth and after a 1.5 percent fall in the prior month. Sales surged for chips (44.5 percent); and petrochemical goods (26.8 percent). Also, exports of machinery went up 15.8 percent. On the other hand, outbound shipments declined for flat panel displays (-21 percent); and ships (-67 percent).
Among major trading partners, exports to China soared 30 percent, followed by those to the US (11.8 percent) and the EU countries (5.7 percent). In contrast, outbound shipments to the ASEAN countries contracted 2.2 percent.
Inbound shipments increased by 12.6 percent to USD 44.3 billion, following a 14.5 percent rise in April while markets estimated a 10.7 percent growth.
Considering the first five months of the year, the trade surplus was USD 26.8 billion, much smaller than a USD 34.2 billion surplus in the same period the preceding year.
For 2018, exports are expected to grew by 4 percent amid strengthening local currency and potential retreat in emerging markets.