South Korea’s exports are expected to touch an all- time high in 2021 on brisk overseas demand for key products amid the global economic recovery, with their growth momentum likely to continue next year, a report said on Monday.

The country’s overseas shipments are projected to swell 24.1 per cent from a year earlier to $636.2 billion this year, Yonhap News Agency quoted the report from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) as saying.

Imports by Asia’s fourth largest economy are likely to amount to $605.7 billion, up 29.5 per cent from the previous year. KITA predicted South Korea’s exports to increase 2.1 per cent on year to $649.8 billion in 2022, with imports forecast to inch up 1.6 per cent to $615.4 billion.

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Next year’s solid export growth will be bolstered by strong overseas demand for South Korean chips, petro chemicals, displays, textiles, wireless communication equipment and other key products, it said.

In contrast, South Korea’s steel exports are likely to decline 9 percent in the coming year due to falling prices, with overseas shipments of auto parts, ships and home electronics estimated to suffer setbacks.

“South Korea’s exports are likely to keep their growth momentum next year amid the global economic recovery led by advanced economies,” KITA said. “Yet, exports could be hampered by a disruption in the global supply chain, a slowdown in China’s economic growth and rising inflation in major countries.”

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