South Korea March petrochemical exports jump 48.5% to record high

Author: Pearl Bantillo

2021/04/01

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korea’s petrochemical exports in March jumped by 48.5% year on year to a record high of $4.8bn on the back of a rebound in global oil prices, official data showed on Thursday.

Demand for synthetic resins used in packaging materials and home appliances, as well synthetic rubber used in medical products increased during the period, the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said in a statement.

“Exports of petrochemicals recorded the highest export value on record,” it said.

The pace of growth has been accelerating since January 2021, after suffering 26 consecutive months of contraction.

South Korea 2021 petrochemical exports value

Month 2021 % growth (year on year)
January $3.6bn 8.6
February $3.8bn 22.4
March $4.8bn 48.5

Source: MOTIE

March shipments of petroleum products posted an 18.3% growth in value, snapping 27 months of declines, to $2.7bn despite a decline in volume.

Overall exports in March grew 16.6% year on year to $53.8bn, rising for the fifth consecutive month, while total imports posted a higher increase of 18.8% to $49.7bn, according to MOTIE.

“By region, outbound shipments to China, the US, the EU, ASEAN, Central and South America, India, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) went up, while those to Japan and the Middle East moved down,” it added.

In 2020, overall exports were hit by slumping global demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Visit the ICIS Coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.