South Korea's auto exports see first rise in eight months

Seoul, Feb 11 (IANS) South Korea's automobile exports rose in January from a year earlier, posting the first increase in eight months.

Exports by the country's five automakers, including Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors, rose 17.1 percent to 288,344 vehicles last month, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement Monday.

The reading was the largest in any January, and marked the first gain since May 2012, reported Xinhua.

In terms of value, the January exports were $4.27 billion. The figure was up 24.3 percent from a year before, and marked the biggest in any January as shipments of high value-added cars increased.

The record-level exports came as business days increased on the Lunar New Year holiday.

Exports for the first two months of the year are usually distorted due to the New Year's holiday that fell in February this year and January last year.

Helped by brisk exports, auto production expanded 23.3 percent to 410,602 units in January compared with a year ago. The 2013 January has four more working days than 2012.

Domestic sales declined 20.2 percent in January from the prior month after rising over the past four months as temporary tax cuts for car purchases expired in December 2012.