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Korea Trade Balance September 2020

Korea: Merchandise exports rebound in September on stronger IT shipments

Merchandise exports rose 7.7% in annual terms in September, rebounding from August’s 10.1% decline, amid an increasing demand for IT products due to the pandemic boosting home working. September’s result marked the highest since October 2018. Meanwhile, merchandise imports edged up 1.1% in annual terms in September (August: -15.8% yoy), marking the best result since February. As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved, recording a USD 8.9 billion surplus in September (August: USD 3.8 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed up, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 39.1 billion surplus in September, compared to the USD 36.1 billion surplus in August.

Commenting on September’s print and the outlook for exports, analysts at Nomura said:“The continued recovery suggested by the September export data is in line with our positive view that Korea’s export growth will be supported by both the steady reopening of the global economy and the structural post-Covid demand shift towards IT products.[…] Moreover, the pace of the export recovery is faster than we expected due to the US sanctions on Chinese tech companies, which should continue to benefit Korea’s chip exports despite the ongoing tensions between the US and China.”

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