Korea rises to No.6 exporter

South Korea was the sixth-largest exporting nation accounting for 3.1 percent of total world exports in 2014, data showed Monday.

According to a special edition published by Statistics Korea to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Liberation Day, Korea’s exports increased from $25 million in 1956 to $572.7 billion in 2014.

The nation recently overtook France in export volume, but continued to lag behind China, the U.S., Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.

Korea ranked eighth in trade volume — both exports and imports — with $1.09 trillion in 2014. The country accounted for 2.9 percent of the world’s total trade.

But its high trade dependence also leaves the export-driven country vulnerable to the volatility of global economic factors such as the situation in its export destinations and geopolitical risks among its raw material trade partners. Korea saw its degree of trade dependence surge to 99.5 percent in 2014, compared to 15.2 percent in 1956.

The data also showed that the Korean economy has expanded about 31,000-fold since the Korean War (1950-1953). Its gross domestic product, which stood at 47.7 billion won ($44.7 million) in 1953, increased to 1.48 quadrillion won in 2014. Its per capita gross national income increased from $67 to $28,180 in the same period.

At 10th place in 2005, its GDP ranking has now been overtaken by countries such as Brazil (No. 7), India (No. 9) and Russia (No. 10).

Women’s participation in economic activities has also gradually increased over the past few decades. The female labor force participation rate which was 37 percent in 1963, climbed to 51.1 percent in 2014. The employment rate of women also rose from 34.3 percent to 49.5 percent over the same period.

In particular, the proportion of women among the total employed has continued to increase — 34.8 percent in 1963, 38.2 percent in 1980, 40.8 percent in 1990, 41.4 percent in 2000 and 42 percent in 2014.

Consumer prices posted a 36-fold increase between 1965 and 2014, which indicates that a product priced at 10,000 won in 1965 would have been worth 360,000 won last year.

South Korea’s population, which surpassed 51.4 million this year, ranked 26th in the world and 13th in Asia as of 2010.

“But its population is projected to decrease to 43.96 million in 2060 after peaking at 52.16 million in 2030,” said the office.


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