South Korea Exports Rise Most in a Year Despite Trade War

(Bloomberg) -- South Korean exports are holding up just fine so far as the U.S.-China trade war escalates, with shipments jumping by the most in a year during the first 20 days of September.

Exports rose 22 percent from the same period a year earlier, the biggest increase since September last year, according to preliminary data released by Korea Customs Service on Friday. As usual, semiconductors, petroleum goods and cars led the way.

The data confirm the trade war between the U.S. and China has had little impact on the real economy, said Ha Keon-hyeong, an economist at Shinhan Investment Corp. “While the U.S.-China trade dispute adds to uncertainty, it isn’t a factor that’s pushing down on exports yet,” Ha said.

Exports to China rose 29 percent in the period, while those to the U.S. jumped 18.6 percent.

Still, one reason for the big increase in shipments from a year earlier was exporters rushing to get them out ahead of the Sept. 24-26 Chuseok holidays in South Korea, Ha said. The holidays fell in October last year.

South Korea’s trade data are released earlier than most other countries, making them a bellwether of global demand. The nation’s exports rose 8.7 percent in the full month of August, the biggest increase in three months.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.