South Korea Exports Rebound in May at Faster Pace Than Expected

South Korea’s exports rebounded in May, topping expectations, following a surprise contraction the previous month. The country releases its trade data earlier than most other major economies, making it a bellwether of global demand.

Key PointsExports rose 13.5 percent in May from a year earlier, higher than than economists’ forecast of a 10.5 percent increase, according to a statement from the trade ministry Imports increased 12.6 percent from the previous year, leaving a trade surplus of $6.73 billion Big Picture

The strong trade data is a bright spot for the economy, which President Moon Jae-in’s economy adviser warned may be entering a slump. Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol has also expressed concern, saying in May that while he sees the economy on track for 3 percent growth, uncertainties are high.

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Lee Ju-yeol

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

South Korea’s exports are dominated by semiconductors, and that leaves the nation vulnerable to a slowdown of the technology cycle. In addition, despite Moon’s pledge to increase overall household income, job creation is weak and income inequality is getting worse.

The DetailsConsidering differences in working days, per-day exports rose 10.8 percent in May from a year earlierExport value was $51 billion, the fifth-highest monthly amount on record, according to the ministry LISTEN TO ARTICLE 1:25 Share Share on Facebook Post to Twitter Send as an Email Print

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