Korean Economy News
Korea’s secondary cell output, exports, local demand to surge in 2021

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Outlook on South Korea’s secondary battery sector continues to look good this year after their output, exports and domestic consumption all rose last year thanks to strong demand for electric vehicles despite the pandemic-induced slowdown.

Production of secondary batteries, or rechargeable batteries, surged 20 percent on year to 23.3 trillion won ($21.1 billion) in 2020, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Korea Battery Industry Association.

Exports gained 2.9 percent to hit a record high of 7.2 trillion won, extending the winning streak for the fifth straight year. Domestic demand expanded 11.6 percent to 5.3 trillion won.

Growth was primarily due to lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries accounted for 20.6 trillion won of the total secondary battery output of 23.3 trillion won.

Exports of lithium-ion batteries climbed 10.6 percent to 1.3 trillion won in 2020. Domestic consumption also rose as EV output at home jumped 33.8 percent on a surge in local demand for green cars.

LG Energy Solution Ltd., Samsung SDI Co. and SK Innovation Co. together claimed 34 percent of the local secondary battery market as of November 2020, up from 16 percent in 2019.

The country’s secondary battery sector outlook is expected to continue to look bright in 2021, according to market experts.

The markets for EVs and energy storage systems are expected to grow even faster as Europe, China and the United States accelerate their green policies.

Secondary battery output this year is estimated to rise 32 percent to hit a historic high of 31 trillion won. Exports are also likely to reach a record high of $7 billion, up 5.7 percent from the previous year. Domestic consumption is projected to rise 24.1 percent to 5.5 trillion won as Hyundai rolls out its EV-dedicated platform and new EV models.

Park Jin-kyu, deputy trade minister, visited a local secondary battery solution provider Misum Systech on Monday in a show of government support for the industry.

“The secondary battery market is expected to expand as demand grows for various applications including mobility, appliances, robots and drones,” said Park. “The government will provide all-out support to battery makers to assist in technological development and standardization.”

By Pulse

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