South Korea's Nov exports to rise for second month but at slower pace : Reuters Poll

FILE PHOTO: A truck driver stands next to his truck as he gets ready to transport a shipping container at Pusan Newport Terminal in Busan

By Jihoon Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's exports likely rose for a second month in November but at a slower pace amid uncertainty over the global growth outlook, a Reuters survey showed on Wednesday.

South Korea, a bellwether for global trade, is the first major exporting economy to report monthly trade figures, providing clues on the health of worldwide demand.

Outbound shipments from Asia's fourth-biggest economy are expected to have risen 4.7% in November, from the same month last year, the median estimate of 20 economists showed in the survey conducted on Nov. 21-28.

That would be a little slower than an increase of 5.1% in October, which was the first year-on-year gain in 13 months. Among the 20 economists, nine expected the growth rate to accelerate but the rest forecast it to weaken.

"Exports are expected to increase for the second straight month with semiconductors swinging to growth but it is not yet a global environment that supports a rapid recovery," said Lee Jeong-hoon, an economist at Eugene Investment Securities.

In the first 20 days this month, South Korea exported goods worth 2.2% more than the year before. Exports of semiconductors were on course to post the first increase since July 2022, rising 2.4%.

By destination, U.S.-bound shipments were 15.7% higher but exports to China and the European Union fell 2.4% and 4.1%, respectively.

"The moderation of export growth we are seeing in the current quarter supports our questions about the sustainability of a semiconductor-led export recovery given lingering uncertainties in relation to the global economic outlook," said Oh Suk-tae, an economist at Societe Generale.

The survey also showed imports likely fell 8.6% in November from a year earlier, after a decline of 9.7% in October, marking the mildest decline in eight months.

That would keep the trade balance in surplus for the sixth straight month. The median forecast in the survey tipped a monthly surplus of $1.30 billion in November, compared with $1.63 billion in October.

South Korea is scheduled to report monthly trade figures for November on Friday, Dec. 1, at 9 a.m. (0000 GMT).

(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Polling by Susobhan Sarkar and Sujith Pai in Bengaluru)