S.Korea exports seen growing for 13th month; CPI rate near decade-peak: Reuters poll

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FILE PHOTO: A truck carrying a shipping container travels past cranes at Pyeongtaek port in Pyeongtaek

SEOUL – South Korean exports likely grew for a 13th straight month in November, a Reuters poll showed on Monday, while the pace of inflation growth is expected to be near a decade high as global energy prices remain high.

Shipments in terms of export value were seen growing 27.7% from a year earlier, according to the median forecast of 16 economists, versus the 24.1% recorded in September.

“We expect South Korea’s export momentum to have picked up in November, driven by solid growth in shipments of semiconductors, petroleum products, ships, computers and steel products,” Lloyd Chan of Oxford Economics said.

Data from last week showed exports for the first 20 days of the month soared 27.6% from a year earlier, with deliveries of petroleum products and vessels surging a whopping 113.6% and 252.2%, respectively.

Economists in Monday’s poll also saw South Korea’s total imports growing 40.5% year-on-year in November, faster than 37.7% in October.

The full-month trade data will be published on Wednesday at 9 a.m. local time (0000 GMT).

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In the same Reuters poll, 19 economists projected consumer price index (CPI) this month to jump 3.1% from a year earlier, not far from the decade-peak of 3.2% marked in October.

“Rising oil and rent prices and weak (Korean) won provide upsides for CPI inflation growth,” said economist Lee Seung-hoon at Meritz Securities.

“CPI growth is to stay elevated at 3%-level until the end of the year … such inflation numbers justify the Bank of Korea’s additional rate hike in coming months,” he said.

Brent futures have risen about 15% over the past two months, but have dropped since, led by losses in the previous session on worries about the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Last week, the BOK governor said the current rate is still accommodative and that a rate hike in the first quarter of 2022 is possible after the bank raised interest rates and sharply revised up its inflation outlook.

Some 15 economists also estimated industrial output in October rose a median 0.4% from September.

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(Reporting by Joori Roh; Additional reporting by Devayani Sathyan, Md Manzer Hussain and Shaloo Shrivastava; Editing by Himani Sarkar)