South Korea’s Exports Surge to Record on Steel, Semiconductors

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 in September, driven by overseas demand for steel, semiconductors and petrochemical products.

Key Points

  • Exports jumped 35 percent from a year earlier, the trade ministry said on Sunday. The median estimate of economists was for a surge of 25 percent.
  • Imports gained 21.7 percent, versus expectations for them to advance 20.6 percent.
  • The trade surplus was $13.8 billion, also a record.
  • Month-on-month growth in exports was the most since January 2011. 
  • There were 2.5 more working days in September compared with a year earlier and some companies pushed out shipment of products before 10-day Chuseok holidays starting on Oct. 1, the trade ministry said.

Big Picture

The better-than-expected data came after China announced its factory gauge hit a five-year high. The results also show that South Korea’s economy is demonstrating resilience even as the war-of-words between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un heightens tensions on the peninsular. 

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