South Korea exports grow 9% in April

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South Korea’s exports grew faster than expected in April, suggesting Asia’s fourth-largest economy is on track for recovery despite faltering signs elsewhere in Asia.

Exports in April were up 9% from a year earlier—the biggest jump in 15 months—to $50.32 billion, following a revised 5.1% gain in March, according to the trade ministry. The April figure beat the median 6.9% forecast of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.

Imports also gained in April, with a 5% rise from a year earlier to $45.85 billion, exceeding both March’s 3.6% increase and the economists’ forecast of 4.2%.

The trade surplus widened to $4.46 billion in April from the previous month’s revised $4.17 billion, beating the poll’s projection of $3.79 billion. South Korea’s trade balance has been in the black since February 2012.

 

Cars, mobile handsets and memory chips led the brisk exports in April as demand grew in the U.S. and other markets. The trade data got a boost froma lower comparison base a year ago.

April’s growth in South Korean exports was the fastest since January 2013, with demand from advanced economies remaining firm: Shipments to the U.S. in April were up 19.3% from a year earlier, stronger than the previous month’s 16.9%.

South Korea’s stronger-than-expected numbers came as China, the growth engine of Asia—and the world’s export powerhouse for decades—sputters, threatening to sap the region’s economic vitality.

 

South Korean shipments to China, which absorbs a quarter of the country’s total exports, were up a mere 2.4% from a year earlier in April, slowing from the previous month’s 4.4% pace.

Combined first-quarter exports from Asia’s four export powerhouses—China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan—were off 2% from a year earlier. Observers see any pickup in Asia as hardly nearing the growth levels seen before the 2008-09 crisis.

For 2013, South Korea’s exports grew 2.1% while imports fell 0.8%, which produced a trade surplus of $44.09 billion. The trade ministry forecasts a 6.4% rise in exports this year.

South Korean inflation in April hit an eight-month high, with the consumer price index up 1.5% from a year earlier, the fastest pace since August 2013—adding to pressure for taming prices.

“The Bank of Korea will begin normalizing interest rates in the second half of this year when we expect Korea’s negative output gap to have closed,” said Barclays economist Wai Ho Leong, who expects the central bank to raise its policy rate starting in the third quarter. The rate has been kept steady at 2.5% since May 2013.

The Bank of Korea said in April it expects the economy to expand 4% this year and 4.2% next year, up from a revised 3% growth in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

Source : Channel News Asia | May 1, 2014

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About thomasdinnocenzi

Thomas D’Innocenzi is a highly accomplished, results-focused international consultant with extensive experience in global sourcing and business development worldwide to meet evolving business needs. Tom has proven ability in implementing and managing profitable global marketing and sourcing operations. He has extensive experience in international business development to accommodate rapid growth. Skilled in building top-performing teams, bench-marking performance, and developing organizations to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Experienced transition leader and change agent. Tom founded Nova Advisors with the mission of providing expert Global Business Development consulting services for companies seeking to expand their market share as an independent consultant. Tom has a network of experts and advisors throughout the Asia-Pacific region and North America. His expertise includes business development, global sourcing, manufacturing, commodities, logistics, QA/QC, FDA, regulatory compliance, sustainability, and supply chain optimization. Tom is experienced in the medical device, apparel, consumer goods and technology services verticals helping companies advance their global sourcing capabilities and develop new markets through a local and sustained approach. Located in SE Asia and the United States, Tom expands market reach to drive sales. His global sourcing strategy includes directly negotiating with commodity suppliers, supply chain networks and distributors for optimal terms based on his expertise and first-hand knowledge of the players. Contact Tom to use his consulting service to increase your global market and make global sourcing profitable for you in the Asia Pacific Region and the United States. http://www.NovaAdvisors.com thomas@NovaAdvisors.com USA Direct: +1.904.479.3600 SINGAPORE: +65.6818.6396 THAILAND: +662.207.9269
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