Korea: Exports slump partially due to seasonal factors
March 14, 2013
In February, exports contracted 8.6% over the same month the previous year, contrasting the 10.6% expansion recorded in January. Nevertheless, February's print, which was partially distorted by the Lunar New Year holidays, beat market expectations of a deeper 9.2% decrease. In the 12 months up to February, exports contracted 1.9% over the same period the previous year (January: -0.5% year-on-year).
According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), exports of automobiles and ships contracted notably in February, offsetting an expansion in exports of petrochemical products.
Imports fell 10.7% in February, which contrasted the 3.9% increase recorded in January. As a result, in the last 12 months, imports fell 3.3% in February (January: -0.5% yoy). Meanwhile, the trade balance reached a USD 2.1 billion surplus in February. As a result, in the 12 months up to February the trade surplus reached USD 31.9 billion, above the USD 25.1 billion surplus observed in the same month last year.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect exports to expand 8.6% in 2013, before accelerating to 10.7% in 2014.