SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's exports of information technology products totaled $28.75 billion during the first quarter of this year, up 8.3 percent over the same quarter of 2006, due largely to brisk shipments of semiconductors and flat display panels, the Ministry of Information and Communication said.
By items, semiconductors and flat panel displays led the nation's lucrative business in the IT sector despite the seasonal slowdown and price declines in the global market, the ministry said.
In March alone, exports of semiconductors amounted to $3.22 billion, up 13.1 percent over a year ago, led by shipments of DRAM chips, which recorded $1.17 billion in the mentioned month, soaring 98.7 percent year-on-year.
Outbound shipments of display panels in March also rose 21.6 percent over a year earlier to $1.68 billion, boosted by brisk orders from TV makers and the large PC monitor segment, according to the ministry.
However, exports of mobile phones and their parts, one of the country's major export items, fell 3 percent year-on-year to $2.13 billion in March, due mainly to a 12.2- percent year-to-year decline in shipments to the European Union.
The ministry predicted slower-than-expected growth in IT exports for Q2, taking into account a possible appreciation of the Korean won against the U.S. dollar and worries about an economic slowdown in the U.S., one of the country's major trade partners.
South Korea's imports amounted to $15.21 billion during the first three months of this year, a 6.6 percent increase over last year.