[데일리한국 안희민 기자] Korea’s automobile industry increased by 84.2% compared to the same month last year, contributing to Korean exports in March. In March, exports recorded 55.12 billion dollars and imports 59.75 billion dollars, making the trade balance record 4.62 billion dollars.
The Ministry of Industry published March export and import trends on the 1st.
In March last year, exports recorded a record high of 63.8 billion dollars, but in March this year, exports recorded 55.12 billion dollars, recovering to the 55 billion dollar range in six months after 57.2 billion dollars in September last year.
By item, automobiles increased by 64.2% compared to the same month last year, and secondary batteries increased by 1%. On the other hand, semiconductors fell by 34.5% and displays by 41.6%, while petrochemical and steel products also fell by 25.1% and 10.7%, respectively. In particular, semiconductor exports fell significantly due to the fall in product prices, which had a significant impact on the decline in exports in March.
Imports decreased by 11.1%, including a 6.1% decrease in crude oil and a 25% decrease in gas compared to the same month the previous year. In addition to energy, imports of semiconductors and steel raw materials also decreased.
Overall, the trade balance recorded a deficit of 4.62 billion won compared to the same month last year. Decrease in exports due to sluggish semiconductor exports and energy imports are the main causes.
Although the overall trade balance shows gloomy indicators, the car sector is expected to perform well.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, exports increased significantly by 13.3% in 2022, and exports reached a record level of $54.1 billion annually thanks to the export of environmentally friendly vehicles with high unit sales prices per vehicle. The previous highest annual export value was $48.4 billion in 2014. The average export unit price is $20,000 for an internal combustion engine vehicle and $30,000 for an environmentally friendly car. Exports of auto parts in 2022 also increased by 2.4% compared to the previous year in terms of value.
In particular, exports of finished cars stood out. Exports increased as a supplier-dominated market was formed due to increased demand for high-quality Korean cars and price competitiveness following high exchange rates.
Hyundai and Kia Motors exports are increasing mainly with new volume models such as Avante, Sportage, and Niro, and electric vehicles.
Specifically, in 2022, compared to the previous year, GM Korea showed an increase of 24.6%, Ssangyong Motor 62.2%, and Renault Korea 63.3%, ahead of Hyundai Motors 9.9% and Kia 8.6%.
In terms of exports, exports of high-end brands such as Genesis, which have high export unit prices, and environmentally friendly cars increased significantly, and car exports in 2022 broke the record for exports.
In 2021, Genesis exported 63,000 units → 81,000 units in 2022, and electric cars exported 154,000 units → 224,000 units.
In the Korean automobile export market, propaganda is of interest as it becomes a relief from the trade deficit situation caused by the sudden decline in semiconductor exports, which were traditional exporters.