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South Korea’s exports to rise for ninth month on chip, US demand

South Korea’s exports are expected to have risen for a ninth consecutive month in June, with semiconductor sales to the U.S. leading the increase, although the growth rate likely slowed on calendar effects, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

Exports in June from Asia’s fourth-largest economy are forecast to have risen 6.3% from a year earlier, according to the median estimate of 11 economists in the survey.

That would be weaker than an annual rise of 11.5% in May and the slowest since March, but most economists attributed it to unfavourable calendar effects. There were 21.5 working days in June this year, compared with 23 in the same month last year.

South Korea is the first major exporting economy to report monthly trade figures each month, providing an early glimpse into the state of global demand.

“The trend of growing exports likely continued as semiconductor exports remained robust,” said Chun Kyu-yeon, economist, Hana Securities.

“Solid demand in the United States is seen leading demand for South Korean exports, with U.S.-bound shipments now accounting for about 20% of the total,” Chun said.

In the first 20 days of this month, exports rose 8.5%, as shipments of semiconductors jumped 50.2%. By destination, exports to the United States rose 23.5%, while those to China climbed 5.6%.

South Korea’s exports are expected to recover towards record-high levels in the first half of this year, the finance minister said earlier.

In the second half, exports will likely be supported by an economic rebound in regions other than the United States, but annual growth rates might weaken due to high comparison bases, economists said.

The poll also forecast that imports in June fell 2.2% from a year earlier, after a 2.0% decline in May.

The country’s trade balance is expected to post a surplus for the 13th straight month, with the median estimate at $5.24 billion, widening from $4.86 billion in May, which was the biggest since December 2020. US News

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