South Korea Dec exports up for third month but at slower pace

By Reuters   December 31, 2023 | 07:23 pm PT
South Korea Dec exports up for third month but at slower pace
Boats are seen near a port in Busan, South Korea. Photo by Pixabay
South Korea's exports rose for a third month in December but at a slower pace as weaker demand for Korean goods in China offset robust global sales for semiconductors, data showed on Monday.

Exports by Asia's fourth largest economy gained 5.1% to $57.66 billion in December, slowing from a rise of 7.7% in November and also below 6.6% gain seen in Reuters poll of economists.

Export data out of Asia's fourth largest economy is a closely watched indicator to gauge momentum for global trade.

Policymakers are pinning hope on recovering exports for an estimated 2.1% of economic expansion in 2024 as high borrowing costs and sticky inflation keep consumer spending sluggish.

Chip exports turned a corner in November, rising for the first time in 16 months as slump in semiconductor demand began to ease.

In December, chip exports surged 21.8% year-on-year after a jump of 12.9% a month earlier.

Exports to China declined 2.9% on year.

Imports declined 10.8% in December on-year, better than a 11.4% of drop seen in the poll and easing after a 11.6% of drop in November.

That took the preliminary trade surplus for December to $4.48 billion.

For the whole 2023, exports declined 7.4% as restrictive monetary policies in many countries and a slowing Chinese economy weakened demand for Korean goods, trade ministry said.

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