Weak South Korea exports may keep rates on hold


Asia’s fourth-largest economy contracted last quarter for the first time in 2-1/2 years, hurt by a slowdown in global demand for its exports and high household debt. — Bloomberg

SEOUL: South Korean exports tumbled for the first 20 days of March and producer inflation eased last month, data shows, reinforcing expectations the central bank will not raise interest rates further amid current market turbulence.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy contracted last quarter for the first time in 2-1/2 years, hurt by a slowdown in global demand for its exports and high household debt.

The country’s shipments for the first 20 days of March fell 17.4% from the comparable period of last year, even though there was one more working day this year, led by a whopping 36.2% dive in sales to China, customs agency data showed.

Bank of Korea data showed the producer price index in February was 4.8% higher than a year earlier, with the pace of increase slowing for an eighth consecutive month.

Economists said these figures confirmed the broad market expectations for weakening economic growth and easing inflation, raising more doubts about the central bank’s tightening stance.

“Inflation will continue to slow and economic growth will be so-so in the future, and now the overseas banking sector crisis will eventually have an impact here,” said Moon Hong-cheol, an economist at DB Financial Investment. — Reuters

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SouthKorea , exports , PPI , inflation , rates , GDP

   

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