S Korea May petchem exports surge 34.1%; to remain strong in June

30 June 2010 07:21  [Source: ICIS news]

By Nurluqman Suratman

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--South Korea’s exports of petrochemicals jumped 34.1% year on year in May as demand from the country’s major trading partners surged, in line with the global economic recovery, analysts said on Wednesday

“Despite global concerns caused by the eurozone debt crisis, South Korea’s exports to its main export destinations recorded a huge increase in May due to the small base in the first eight months of last year,” said Lee Sung-Kwong, chief economist at brokerage Shinhan Investment Co.

Shipments may further improve in June on better demand from key importers such as China, the US, Europe and southeast Asia, he said.

However, plant shutdowns of key petrochemical exporters such as LG Chem in the second quarter may have restricted volumes available for shipment this month, said Lim Ji-Soo, a petrochemical analyst at Shinhan Investment.

Uncertainty in crude oil prices could also dampen market sentiment and weigh on exports, she said.

South Korea recorded a 41.9% jump in overall exports last month, driven by shipments of automobiles and IT products, Lee said.

Its exports to China surged 55.8% year on year for the first 20 days of May, while sales to the US soared 62.3%, he said.

Europe also took in 38% more of South Korean goods over the same period, he added.

South Korea may see continued strong growth in exports until August due to a very low base in 2009, Lee said.

But the momentum may taper off in the months after, when major economies were expected to withdraw their fiscal stimulus measures more aggressively, he added.

Source: Korea International Trade Association

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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