South Korean trade data was just released.
March exports climbed by just 0.4 percent year-over-year.
This was well short of the 1.8 percent increase forecasted by economists.
Sure, it's a cliche. But economists across Wall Street dub South Korean exports as the global economic canary in the coal mine.
Korean trade data usually comes before the first trading session of the month in Asia, which makes it the first of the world's major economic indicators to be released.
Because Korea's exports are heavily exposed to China and Japan — the world's second and third largest economies — it is considered to have strong predictive power.
Below is a chart from Morgan Stanley's Joachim Fels. It shows how Korean exports are a leading indicator for global trade.
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