Korea export recovery continues with daily shipments rising

Release date: 2020-11-05
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South Korea’s exports recovery continued in October with daily shipments pointing to a continued pickup in overseas demand, even though a national holiday reduced working days and hurt headline figures.

The value of total shipments abroad fell 3.6% from a year earlier, the trade ministry said Sunday. Economists had forecast a 3.5% decline. Average daily shipments still rose 5.6%, with the period having two fewer business days than last year.

Overall exports to China fell 5.7% while shipments to the U.S. rose 3.3%. Semiconductor exports rose 10% and car sales rose 5.8%.

The increase in daily shipments suggests recent upward momentum in global trade remains intact as many economies reopen. Still, the outlook is uncertain as soaring virus cases in Europe forced France and Germany to impose harsh restrictions, while some U.S. states are seeing record outbreaks.

Key Insights

  • South Korea’s economy emerged from a recession last quarter, propelled by the strongest export rebound in decades. Products like semiconductors and computers were among the best sellers.

  • China’s broadening recovery bodes well for South Korean exporters from Samsung Electronics Co. to Hyundai Mobis Co. China is the biggest buyer of South Korean goods used in the assembly of products sold globally.

  • Semiconductors and automobile are “solidly propping up the exports,” Sung Yun-mo, South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, said in a statement, pointing to the resurgence of the coronavirus and the U.S.-China tensions as potential risks to trade.

  • Faced with fresh lockdown risks in some trade partners grappling with soaring infections, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said recently the government would seek to keep the trade momentum alive with more shipments in medical items, such as masks and testing kits.

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