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% in the first twenty days of the month from a year earlier, data from the customs office showed Thursday. Daily average exports rose 25.7% during the period, which had one more business day than last year.
The report suggests 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 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 it’s signaled.
With 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% expansion of the economy this year.
Korea’s strong trade performance has allowed the BOK to shift its focus to managing financial risks, initiating a rate-hike cycle in August.
Thursday’s report showed demand in major markets remained strong through the first 20 days of the month. Shipments to China jumped 30.9% compared with a year earlier. Those to the U.S. were up 37.1%, while exports to Japan rose 51.9%.
Overall semiconductor shipments rose 23.9%. Shipments of gasoline-related products more than doubled, while cars gained 10.5%. Wireless communication devices rose 2.6%.
Total imports during the first twenty days of the month surged 48% from a year earlier, indicated strong domestic demand.