November 28, 2018 / 6:26 AM / 5 months ago

South Korea November exports seen up 6.6 percent, slowdown ahead: Reuters poll

FILE PHOTO: Giant cranes are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea is expected to post solid export growth this month, but faces growing risks from softening computer memory prices and the US-China trade dispute, a Reuters poll found on Wednesday.

The survey of 11 economists produced a median forecast for exports to rise 6.6 percent in annual terms, well down from a 22.7 percent rise in October but in line with average growth of 6.4 percent so far this year.

Imports are seen jumping 12.0 percent in November over a year earlier, compared with a 6.7 percent rise in October and average growth of 17.3 percent growth so far this year, the survey showed. However, economists said falling computer memory prices and slowing global growth, as well US-China trade disputes were a threat to South Korean exports.

“Export growth may have slowed slightly in November due to weaker global demand and peaking of the electronics cycle,” said DBS economist Ma Tieying.”The impact of (U.S.-China trade war) may only show up in the regional trade numbers from the first quarter of 2019 onwards.”

South Korea is home to world-wide suppliers of chips, ships, cars and petroleum products, and is the first major exporter to report its monthly trade data, providing an early scan of global economic health.

In the same poll, economists also forecast consumer inflation in November would accelerate to an annual rate of 2.2 percent from 2.0 percent in October.

Industrial output in October was estimated to have turned to monthly growth of 1.1 percent from a 2.5 percent fall in September, the poll found.

Statistics Korea is due to release October industrial output figures on Friday and November inflation data on Dec. 4. The customs agency will publish November’s trade figures on Saturday.

Additional reporting by Jeongmin Kim, Joori Roh, Yuna Park; Editing by Eric Meijer

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