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South Korea’s exports slid in October as a national holiday reduced working days, while a rise in daily shipments pointed to a continued pickup in overseas demand.
The value of shipments abroad fell 3.6% from a year earlier, the trade ministry said Sunday. Economists had forecast a 3.5% decline. Average daily shipments 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%. Automobile, display and semiconductor shipments increased, the ministry said, without providing a figure.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Growing U.S.-China tension is a key risk for South Korean trade. Certain high-tech exporters are required to receive U.S. approval to send products to China if they’ve been made using American technology.
- South Korea has sold more than $10 billion in healthcare-related products for the first time this year thanks to booming exports of testing kits, the ministry says.
- Overall exports to the European Union rose 9.5%, while those to Japan fell 19%.
- Total imports declined 5.8% from a year earlier, leaving a trade surplus of $6 billion.
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