Korea: Exports improve unexpectedly
November 14, 2012
In October, exports expanded 1.1% over the same month last year to USD 47.1 billion, according to revised data released by the Korea Customs Service (KCS). The reading marked an improvement over the revised 2.3% decline recorded in September (previously reported: -2.0% year-on-year), and defied market expectations of a 0.7% contraction. According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), exports of wireless communication devices and petroleum products expanded notably in October, offsetting contractions in exports of ships. In the 12 months up to October, exports expanded 0.9% over the same period the previous year (September: +1.4% year-on-year). Meanwhile, imports expanded 1.7% in October, contrasting the 6.1% drop recorded in September. As a result, imports expanded 1.9% in annual terms in the last 12 months (September: +3.1% yoy). The trade balance reached a USD 3.7 billion surplus in October, exceeding market expectations. As a result, the 12-month moving sum of the trade balance reached a USD 27.6 billion surplus in October, slightly below the USD 27.8 billion surplus observed in September.