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S. Korea's trade surplus in chips soars through July

2017/08/10 09:39

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SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's trade surplus in chips more than doubled in the first seven months from a year earlier, data showed Thursday, casting concern over the country's excessive dependency on the industry.

According to industry data, the country's semiconductor surplus through July came to US$28.8 billion, rising sharply from $12.6 billion in the same period in 2016. The latest numbers already beat the combined surplus of $25.6 billion posted for 2016.

By sector, memory chips accounted for $27.1 billion won, with system chips also posting a surplus of $1.4 billion.

As South Korea's combined trade surplus is estimated at $55.7 billion for the January-July period, the latest figure indicates memory chips take up nearly half of the country's trade profits.

Industry watchers said the dependency on the industry may have an adverse impact on the country's sustainable growth as the sector is vulnerable to global market fluctuations.

The latest rise of Chinese rivals also poses potential threats to South Korean players such as Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc., they added.

"The robust export of South Korean chipmakers amid the industry-wide boom is attributable to their investment made earlier," an industry insider said. "If they do not make sufficient investment amid the heightened global competition, South Korea may face considerable challenges in the near future."

   colin@yna.co.kr

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