SEOUL: The South Korean automobile industry saw its trade surplus exceed the $60 billion mark for the first time in 2012 .
According to South Korean news agency (Yonhap), the figure is much larger than South Korea's overall trade surplus of $28.5 billion for last year, which was down 7.5 percent from the previous year's $30.8 billion.
The data showed South Korea's car exports climbed 0.4 percent on-year to 3.17 million units last year. Exports to the United States, Eastern European nations and Africa offset a decline in shipments to the European Union and South America.
The country's car and auto parts industries posted a trade surplus of $61.7 billion last year, up 5.8 percent from a surplus of $58.3 billion for 2011, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy. Carmakers logged a surplus of $42 billion, while the auto parts industry contributed to the rest.
Exports of auto parts rose 6.5 percent on-year to $24.6 billion thanks to an increased supply to South Korean automakers' overseas units and to foreign car manufacturers.
Imports of auto components, however, fell to $4.9 billion last year from $5.8 billion.
"As the quality and brand image of South Korean cars are improving abroad, car shipments will continue its upward tendency this year," said an industry official. (QNA)