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Korea Trade October 2023

Korea: Merchandise exports rise for first time since September 2022 in October

Merchandise exports rose 5.1% in annual terms in October (September: -4.4% year on year). The figure marked the fastest increase since August 2022 and marked the first rise after 12 months of contractions. Meanwhile, merchandise imports contracted 9.7% on an annual basis in October (September: -16.5% yoy), marking the strongest result since March 2023.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 1.6 billion surplus in October (September 2023: USD 3.7 billion surplus; October 2022: USD 6.7 billion deficit). Lastly, the trend improved, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 29.9 billion deficit in October, compared to the USD 38.3 billion deficit in September.

Analysts at ING said:

“Solid vehicle and machinery exports, along with signs of improvement in chip exports [suggest] that global demand conditions are holding up well. However, the weak manufacturing PMI hints that the expected export recovery will only be modest.”

Analysts at Nomura said:

“With a recovery in the chip cycle, positive base effects and stabilizing demand, we expect exports to record high-single to double-digit growth over the next six months.”

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