Korean exports peak to new high
Seoul, June 2, 2013
South Korean exports grew last month at the fastest annual rate in four months, government data showed yesterday, suggesting that the effects of the sharply depreciating yen has yet to stunt the recovery for Asia's fourth-largest economy.
Overseas shipments last month rose 3.2 per cent from a year earlier $48.37 billion, the strongest growth seen since a 10.9 per cent rise in January and accelerating from a 0.4 per cent rise in April.
The median forecast from a survey of 16 analysts tipped a 0.3 per cent on-year exports growth for May, with forecasts ranging from a 2.7 per cent drop to a 5.0 per cent rise.
Imports for May fell by 4.8 per cent from a year earlier to $42.34 billion, weaker than a 2 per cent fall tipped by the survey, translating to a trade surplus of $6.03 billion.
South Korea's trade data is watched closely around the world because the country is the first major exporting economy to publish its monthly figures. South Korea is home to some of the world's biggest manufacturers of cars, ships and smartphones.
Yesterday's data appears to support recent comments from local policy makers who say that the yen's depreciation stemming from Japan's massive money-printing campaign to beat deflation has yet to seriously undermine South Korea's growth momentum.
Data from the trade ministry showed that South Korean shipments to the United States rose by 21.6 per cent from a year earlier during May, while shipments to China rose by 16.6 per cent.
Shipments to the crisis-hit European Union fell by 14.6 per cent in annual terms last month, however, while shipments to Japan also fell by 11.7 per cent due to the effects of the weaker yen.
Separate data released earlier showed that South Korea's industrial output grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.8 per cent in April from March, marking the first pickup in four months.
But policy makers have also warned that the effects of the depreciating yen will have a delayed effect on local exporters, suggesting that headwinds could grow stronger in the coming months. The won is up by nearly 9 per cent against the yen so far this year despite being down by more than 5 per cent against the dollar.-Reuters