January 5, 2004 – South Korea’s imports of semiconductor products in 2003 grew 22.1% to $20.77 billion, outpacing a 16.7% increase in exports to $18.82 billion, according to the Korea Times.
The chip trade deficit of $1.95 billion is a record high, up 231% from 2002 and considerably higher than the previous record of $1.29 billion in 2001. It’s the third straight year that Korea has turned a deficit in this industry, after a $6.08 billion surplus in 2000.
Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy (MOCIE) blamed the widening deficit on a continued slump in global IT spending, and a DRAM supply glut due to lessened consumption. Forecasts of double-digit growth in memory chip exports are matched by an ongoing bullish export trend, which will continue to generate a deficit, according to a MOCIE official.