Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/01/2014 -- South Korea's exports witnessed a marginal contraction of 0.2% year-on-year (y-o-y) in January 2014, reversing a three-month expansion in Q4 2013 while imports performed likewise, contracting 0.9%, according to official customs data. That said, we are not concerned with the country's trade performance given that exports are likely to have been affected by the loss of two working days due to the Lunar New Year holidays. Korea's trade performance in the first quarter of every year is typically subjected to fluctuations in light of New Year festivities.
Indeed, Korea's average daily exports actually expanded 8.9% on an annual basis. Other indicators also point towards a pickup in manufacturing activity. Industrial output rose a solid seasonally-adjusted 2.6% yo- y in December 2013 while the country's purchasing managers' index (PMI) has been steadily increasing and has spent four successive months in expansion.
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An ongoing recovery in the developed economies will continue to provide supportive pressure for Korean exports and increasing evidence of Korean exporters increasing their capital investment reflects growing business confidence in the economy's growth prospects. Furthermore, the cyclical upturn in the global electronics sector (which usually occurs at the beginning of the year) will aid demand for Korean electronics exports, at least in the near term. These factors will feed into the relatively positive growth forecast for the country's shipping sector over the short and medium term.
Headline Industry Data
- 2014 tonnage throughput at the port of Busan forecast to increase by 7.27%.
- 2014 tonnage throughput at the port of Incheon forecast to grow by 1.70%.
- Container throughput at the port of Busan is set to rise by 4.50% in 2014, while the port of Incheon is predicted to see a 9.50% increase.
- The total value of South Korea's trade (imports plus exports) is set to enjoy real growth of 3.75% in 2014.
Key Industry Trends
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