South Korean exports grew at a faster-than-expected pace in February, despite challenges from escalating geopolitical tensions and supply bottlenecks.
Overseas shipments grew 20.6% from a year earlier to $53.91 billion, following January’s 15.2% increase, according to preliminary data released by the trade ministry on Tuesday.
Export growth beat the median forecast of seven economists polled by The Wall Street Journal for an 18.2% rise. It was the 16th straight month of year-on-year growth for exports.
Demand for South Korean semiconductors, computers, flat screens, steel, petroleum products and petrochemicals remained strong, as shipments to nearly all major markets including the U.S. and China expanded solidly.
Imports rose 25.1% to $53.07 billion after a revised 35.3% surge in January on higher energy prices, creating a trade surplus of $841 million in February.
The country’s trade balance had remained in negative territory for two consecutive months until January, as global supply constraints sent prices for oil and other commodities higher and led import values to rise sharply.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tougher international sanctions on Moscow are poised to worsen supply-chain disruptions and sap growth in global trade.