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South Korea's Exports Post Impressive Growth In February

By March 1, 2017 at 9:28 am
South Korea's exports post impressive growth (Photo : (Photo Credit: Ed Jones, Getty Images)

South Korea experienced a ray of sunlight in the midst of its economic and social problems as government data showed the country's export industry grew at its fastest pace in the past five years.

Data showed that South Korea's exports and imports performed better than expected, jumping 20.2 and 23.3 percent respectively. It was the strongest boost in both areas that the country has seen since February 2012 and a positive sign that global trade continues to grow stronger.

According to the country's trade ministry, exports to China increased 28.7 percent on-year, its best numbers since 2010. The semiconductor industry also posted great monthly performance numbers as it rode high on the demand for electronics. Meanwhile, shipments to the US also rose 1.7 percent as the superpower demanded more cars, heavy electric equipment, and oil products.

South Korea's streak is expected to continue as experts project that February exports would go up 14.7 percent while imports would peak at 21.7 percent. However, economist Lee Sang-Jae cautions that while South Korea's shipments to China are still increasing, they have to see "if the deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) system has any impact going forward."

Some South Korean officials have expressed wariness that China might be indirectly punishing the country for pushing through with the THAAD system. However, Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho is adamant that China hasn't done anything to warrant such a belief.

In spite of the positive numbers that South Korea is getting, experts acknowledge that South Korea and other Asian countries are also bracing for what might happen to exports later in the year if US President Trump turns out to be serious about his protectionist stand on trade.

As a preemptive measure, South Korea is reportedly looking for ways to minimize the country's reliance on the US and China. The country is said to be planning to diversify its markets and export products.  

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