South Korea’s corporate revenue growth hit a new record high last year on brisk exports of semiconductors and petrochemicals, central bank data showed Monday.
Revenue of all industries increased 9.9 percent in 2017 from the previous year, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). It was the highest yearly expansion since the bank began compiling the data in 2013.
The result was based on financial statements from 23,145 non-financial companies with at least 12 billion won (11.2 million U.S. dollars) in assets that are subject to external audit.
The revenue growth rate of big corporations was 9.5 percent in 2017, after posting a negative 0.3 percent in 2016. The figure for small firms accelerated from 7.4 percent to 11.3 percent in the same period.
Manufacturers and non-manufacturers logged a revenue growth rate of 9.8 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.
It was mainly attributable to robust outbound shipments of semiconductors. The machine, electric and electronics industries, which include a chip-making sector, jumped 18.6 percent in revenue in 2017 from a year earlier.
Revenue of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, the country’s top two chipmakers, accounted for 11.4 percent of the total in 2017.
Revenue in the oil and chemical sectors advanced 14.5 percent last year on higher crude oil prices, after falling 2.9 percent in the previous year.
The construction sector posted a revenue growth rate of 11.7 percent in 2017 thanks mainly to households’ demand to purchase new home with borrowed money.
The BOK raised its benchmark interest rate in November last year to 1.5 percent from an all-time low of 1.25 percent, the first rate increase in almost six and a half years. Since then, the bank has kept it on hold at the current level.
The ratio of operating profit to revenue for local non-financial companies hit a new high of 7.4 percent in 2017.
The percentage of debt to equity stood at 92.3 percent in 2017, down from 98.2 percent in the prior year.—Xinhua