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South Korea exports growth accelerates in May though China curbs hurt

Shipments to the US jumped 29.2 per cent from a year earlier, while exports to the EU gained 23.5 per cent. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea's exports grew at a faster pace in May than a month earlier as shipments to Europe and United States improved, even as ongoing Covid-19 restrictions continued to disrupt trade with China.

Exports rose 21.3 per cent from a year earlier to US$61.52 billion (S$84.3 billion), trade ministry data showed on Wednesday (June 1), beating the forecast for 19.3 per cent growth in a Reuters poll and well ahead of a 12.9 per cent rise in April.

South Korea's monthly trade data, the first to be released among major exporting economies, is considered a bellwether for global trade.

Shipments to the US jumped 29.2 per cent from a year earlier, above than April's 26.6 per cent, while exports to the European Union gained 23.5 per cent.

Lockdowns in China have snarled logistics and supply chains, hammering trade in the region.

Exports to China grew just 1.2 per cent in May from a year earlier after declining 3.4 per cent in April.

Wednesday's trade data comes as the Bank of Korea delivered back-to-back interest rate hikes last week to bring consumer inflation down from 13-year highs.

The central bank also downgraded the country's growth forecast for this year to 2.7 per cent from an earlier forecast of 3.0 per cent, as it sees slower global demand hurting South Korea exports in the second half. (