South Korea exports jump in early October data despite supply chain woes

SEOUL (BLOOMBERG) – South Korea’s early trade report showed exports continued to post strong gains in October, weathering headwinds from global supply chain snags and China’s slowdown.

Shipments grew 36.1 per cent in the first 20 days of the month from a year earlier, data from the Customs office showed on Thursday (Oct 21). Daily average exports rose 25.7 per cent during the period, which had one more business day than last year.

The report suggests that the momentum in global commerce has held up, even as extended lead times and surging energy prices pose challenges to manufacturers.

Still, a slowdown that looks set to deepen in China clouds the outlook and could mean weaker orders from consumers and businesses in South Korea’s biggest market abroad.

The Bank of Korea will be closely monitoring the trade figures as it decides whether to push ahead with a November rate hike that it has signalled.

With South Korean manufacturers benefiting from heightened global demand for tech during the pandemic, the central bank expects exports to be the main driver behind a 4 per cent expansion of the economy this year.

South Korea’s strong trade performance has allowed the Bank of Korea to shift its focus to managing financial risks, initiating a rate-hike cycle in August.

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