S. Korea’s auto trade surplus dips in 2014: report

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SEJONG, Jan. 27 – South Korea’s trade surplus in automobiles fell 4.8 percent to US$35.98 billion last year from the year before due to a surge in domestic demand for foreign-made cars, a government report showed Tuesday.

The report by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) showed the country’s car exports hitting $43.95 billion or 3.02 million units in 2014, up a marginal 1.6 percent from the year before. Imports, in contract, jumped 45.4 percent to $7.97 billion, or 256,000 vehicles.

The rise in imports caused the trade surplus to fall 4.8 percent last year from $37.79 billion tallied in 2013.

“The slow pace of export growth is linked to local carmakers expanding production lines abroad,” the customs service said.

The KCS also said that the average unit cost of cars shipped abroad rose 1.6 percent, while that of imports rose 4.5 percent.

The average unit price for exported cars stood at $14,544 last year, with corresponding numbers for imports hitting $31,144.

By country, the United States was by far the largest buyer of South Korean-made cars, followed by Britain and Australia, with Germany being the main manufacturer of cars sold in South Korea. (Yonhap)