S Korea exports rise at fastest pace in 17 months

BLOOMBERG

Sat, Jan 02, 2010 - Page 10

South Korea’s exports increased at the fastest pace in 17 months, adding to signs that Asia’s fourth-biggest economy is recovering from the global recession.

Overseas shipments gained 33.7 percent last month from a year earlier to US$36.2 billion, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said yesterday. That was more than the median 27.9 percent forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 10 economists. Imports rose 24 percent to US$32.9 billion for a trade surplus of US$3.3 billion.

Higher overseas sales suggest a a recovery in South Korea’s US$929 billion economy, which grew 3.2 percent in the third quarter. Exports in November 2008 recorded their biggest fall of the year as the financial crisis weakened demand, providing a low-base comparison for the figures released yesterday.

“Exports will post growth for the coming months given the low base from last year and also as demand from overseas rises,” said Kim Jae-eun, an economist at Hyundai Securities Co in Seoul. “South Korea should benefit from orders from China and emerging nations less affected by the global recession.”

For last year, the country’s trade surplus reached a record US$41 billion as imports dropped 25.8 percent while exports declined 13.8 percent, the ministry said in a statement.

Exports this month will grow at a double-digit pace from a year earlier after the global financial crisis cut last January’s overseas shipments by 34.5 percent, the statement said.