* August exports +16.7% y/y, imports +31.0% y/y
* Analysts see exports growth to slow down in Q4
SEOUL, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Brisk global demand for chips and computers helped South Korea’s exports log a 11th straight month of expansion in September, albeit at a slower pace because of two fewer working days because of the South Korean thanksgiving Chuseok holiday.
The rate of exports growth was at 16.7% from a year earlier, slightly exceeding a 16.3% forecasts by analysts.
Imports soared 31.0% from a year earlier, also slower than a 44.0% rise in August, resulting in trade surplus of $4.2 billion, government data showed.
Analysts expect shipment growth to slow in the fourth quarter because of base effects, as well as global logistics hiccups that could worsen as demand for power spikes in China.
At a global level, the country is nervously watching China, where weaker factory output and a power crunch could adds to woes for South Korea’s recovery momentum at a time when it just began policy tightening to shift away from pandemic-era monetary settings.
While exports are still surging, the nation’s factory output unexpectedly declined in August and its household debt is at record high, hobbling consumer spending.
“Demand for South Korean goods from the U.S. and Europe will continue, but the pace of it will slow down as global logistics issues makes trade environment frothier and energy crisis in China continues,” said Chang Jae-chul, an economist at KB Kookmin Bank.
Exports to China, South Korea’s biggest trading partner, jumped 17.3% on-year, while that to the United States and European Union gained 14.5% and 15.6%, respectively.
Breakdown of Friday’s data shows semiconductor exports soared 28.4% from a year earlier and overseas sales of computers and petrochemical products also surged 49.4% and 78.7% each.
There were 21 working days September this year, versus 23 days in the comparable month of 2020. (Reporting by Cynthia Kim. Editing by Gerry Doyle)