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Monthly Infographic: Petroleum products

Petroleum products rebound; Korea reaches all-time high April exports

Korea's exports of petroleum products have increased for two straight months

Jun 11, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Petroleum products become driving force behind South Korea's export market

Exports of petroleum products turned positive this year, driving South Korea to double-digit growth. As international oil prices recovered, petroleum products rebounded in two years and three months – becoming the driving force behind the country’s export growth. Rising demand for products following the COVID-19 recovery is expected to carry momentum.

Source: Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), Korea Petroleum Association

April exports

Korea’s exports logged around $51.2 billion in April, exceeding $50 billion for two months straight and reaching an all-time high in the history of April exports. All of the export items posted balanced growth, with 13 out of 15 major export items achieving double-digit growth. In particular, intermediate goods that had been stagnant such as general machinery, petrochemical goods, petroleum products and textile got back on track following the global trade recovery, which played a significant role in Korea’s export growth.

April exports

(Unit: %)

Source: Korea Rural Economic Institute

Petroleum products

Petroleum products are made by refining crude oil such as diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene, naphtha and lubricants. Korea’s exports of petroleum products turned positive in March, and went on to reach $2.9 billion in April, up by 96.4% from the year-earlier period and reaching an all-time high in one year and three months.

(Unit: $1 million, % compared to the year-earlier period)

Global economic recovery has led international oil prices to surge, also increasing the unit value for exports of petroleum products. Korea saw the exports of petroleum products increase for two consecutive months following recovering demand for petroleum.

Up by 208.6%
from the previous year

International oil price
(Dubai oil, $/B)

Up by 120.4%
from the previous year

Export unit value for
petroleum products ($/B)

Up by 96.4%
from the previous year

Petroleum product exports
(Billion dollars)

Petroleum products exports in Q1

Following the change in different countries' demand for petroleum products, Korea’s oil refining industry is seeking ways to boost exports of petroleum products by devising customized strategies for target countries.

Export countries
(Unit: %)

Export volume
(Unit: %)

Exports to China doubled compared to the previous year (19%)

Exports of heating fuel (kerosene) increased by 22% due to oil refinery shutdown in Fukushima after the February earthquake

Korea's oil industry beefed up exports to Australia after British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil announced plans to shut down oil refineries

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