Korea Trade November 2016


Korea: Exports expand in November for the first time in three months

December 1, 2016

Korea’s Customs Services reported that exports totaled USD 45.5 billion in November, which represented a 2.7% year-on-year expansion. The result contrasted contractions in October and September and also overshot the 1.6% rise the markets had expected. The stronger-than-expected pickup came in as demand for Korean merchandise saw an increase in China, the U.S., Japan and India. Conversely, exports to the EU plummeted.

Imports soared 10.1% in annual terms to USD 37.5 billion in November, which beat the 3.4% increase the markets had expected and reversed the 4.8% decline in October.

Korea’s trade surplus totaled USD 8.0 billion in November, which was slightly larger than the previous month’s USD 7.0 billion surplus. The figure in November prompted the 12-month trailing trade surplus to total USD 89.6 billion, which fell compared to the previous month’s USD 91.9 billion surplus.

The new U.S. administration under Donald Trump and the beginning of Brexit-related negotiations will pose major risks to Korea’s external sector going forward.

Following an 8.0% contraction in 2015, exports are expected to contract again this year, although at a softer pace. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to decrease 5.5% in 2016. For 2017, analysts expect exports to rebound and expand 1.1% in 2017.

Author:, Senior Economist

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Korea Trade Chart

Korea Trade12m November 2016

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in USD billion and annual average variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports.
Source: Korea Customs Services (KCS) and FocusEconomics calculations.

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