Mon, Oct 02, 2017 - Page 15 News List

Steel and semiconductors bolster S Korean exports


South Korean exports surged to a record last month in the latest sign that stronger global trade is helping to underpin growing momentum for the global economy.

The nation’s shipments abroad rose for an 11th month last month, driven by overseas demand for steel, semiconductors and petrochemical products.

Exports jumped 35 percent from a year earlier with growh across most of 13 major categories, while imports gained 21.7 percent, the trade ministry said yesterday.

The trade surplus was US$13.8 billion, also a record, the ministry said.

Month-on-month growth in exports was the most since January 2011. There were 2.5 more working days last month compared with a year earlier and some companies pushed out shipment of products before 10-day Chuseok holidays starting on Oct. 1, the ministry said.

South Korea’s economy improved slightly in some regions in the third quarter, with domestic consumption driven by positive sentiment and the government’s job-creation policy, the Bank of Korea said last week. Geopolitical concerns surrounding North Korea and household debt remain as risks to the outlook, the central bank said.

Export growth is projected to slow from this month, the ministry said, as the US Federal Reserve takes steps to reduce its balance sheet and other central banks are expected to reduce monetary stimulus.

There will also be six-and-a-half fewer working days in South Korea in the fourth quarter than there were in the year-earlier period, the ministry said.

“Although exports are at a record-high, this was mostly expected amid high demand for semiconductors and also because of the base effects from low oil prices a year earlier,” Yuanta Securities Korea economist Jeong Wonil said by telephone. “South Korea’s exports will probably be good until the end of this year, but it seems to be uncertain whether the strong cycle for the semiconductor industry will continue into 2018.”

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