South Korea saw exports surge by 11.8 percent year-on-year in January following a 5.7 contraction in December, but seasonal factors distorted what was really a disappointing month, according to one analyst.
Economist Young Sun Kwon said South Korea’s export figures for last month were misleading due to Chinese New Year, which falls in February this year but was celebrated in January in 2012.
“Because monthly export growth numbers from December 2012 to February 2013 are largely distorted, we look at working-day adjusted daily export growth as a better indicator to gauge underlying growth,” he said. “It slowed to 2.5 percent year-on-year in January from 7.5 percent in December.
The South Korean government estimates that automobiles, chemicals and electronics products led the country’s exports to the U.S., ASEAN, China, Japan and the Middle East higher, but exports to the eurozone and Latin America declined.
Young forecast that South Korea’s exports would still recover this year, but at a more modest pace than initially expected.