South Korean Exports Paint a Bullish Picture for U.S. and EU

South Korea’s economy is without a doubt export driven. It’s also the first major economy to report trade figures each month, so if you want to take the global economy’s temperature, you start with South Korea. And doing so now shows that things are looking pretty good in the land of semiconductors, machinery, automobiles, ships, and liquid crystal display (LCD) and wireless communication devices.

South Korea Exports

Surprisingly, Exports in South Korea increased to US$48.4 billion in July 2014, from US$47.9 billion in the month previous. It has been a stable rise each month since May’s US$47.6 billion (after falling from the 2014 peak of US$50.3 billion in April).

South Korea’s major exporting destinations are China (25% of total exports), ASEAN (14%), the United States (10%), and the EU (9%).

Shipments to the United States surged 19.4% from a year earlier—it’s fastest rate in nine months. Exports to the EU grew 11.5% and to Japan 6% from a year earlier. But not everything is looking rosy, as shipments to China—it’s biggest trading partner—are rather bearish looking, dropping 7% in July from a year earlier in a third-straight monthly drop.