South Korea’s Export Growth Boosts Early Second-Quarter Momentum

Early trade figures for April indicate a robust start to the second quarter for South Korea’s exports, signaling a positive outlook for economic growth in the country.

Data released by the customs office on Monday revealed an 11.1 percent year-on-year increase in the value of shipments in the first 20 days of April, accompanied by a 6.1 percent uptick in imports, which resulted in a trade deficit of US$2.6 billion.

As a significant producer of high-tech goods and an early reporter of trade data, South Korea’s export performance is closely watched as a leading indicator for global commerce trends. The nation’s companies, particularly prominent in areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and other tech-driven sectors, play a vital role in global trade networks.

Semiconductor shipments, in particular, continued to drive export growth in April, registering a substantial 43 percent increase from the previous year during the period, according to the customs office.

Given the significant contribution of technology products to South Korea’s industrial prowess, these exports have likely played a crucial role in bolstering the economy at a time when domestic consumption levels remain moderate. Economists are anticipating a year-on-year GDP growth acceleration to 2.5 percent when the Bank of Korea releases first-quarter economic data later this week.