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First 20-days Export Headline Dips, But Detail Paints Resilient Picture


South Korea's first 20-days trade data for Feb was distorted by the timing of the China LNY. Headline exports fell -7.8% in y/y terms, versus -1.0% for the same reference period in Jan. Imports were -19.2% y/y, against -18.2% for the first 20-days in Jan. The trade deficit for the first 20-days was -$1.23bn. Note the full month trade surplus for Jan was a modest $300mn.

  • The detail still showed resilience though. Daily average exports were still +9.9% y/y for the first 20-days of the month. The chart below plots this series against full month export growth.
  • Whilst full month export growth is likely to step down in Feb, with the timing of LNY this year versus last year having an impact, the daily average export trend looks to remain in positive territory.
  • This points to a better global trade volumes path, up from 2023 lows, but not a sharp v shaped recovery.
  • The details were mixed, chip exports rose 39.1% y/y, base effects playing a role, but still showing positive momentum in early parts of 2024.
  • By country, exports were down -10.8% y/y, to the US we fell -22.8% y/y.

Fig 1: South Korea First 20-day Exports Versus Full-Month

Source: MNI - Market News/Bloomberg

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