South Korea’s Exports Rise for First Time in Four Months

South Korea’s exports unexpectedly rose for the first time in four months as resilience from the country’s largest companies helped offset the effects of a global slowdown.

Overseas shipments rose 1.2 percent in October from a year earlier, after a revised 2 percent decline in September, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 16 economists was for a 0.7 percent decline. Consumer prices rose 2.1 percent last month from a year ago.

South Korea’s industrial production also rose for the first time in four months in September, adding to evidence that a slowdown in Asia’s fourth-largest economy has hit bottom. Still, data has been mixed, with manufacturers’ confidence for November falling for a second-straight month and the Bank of Korea saying in a report to parliament yesterday that growth momentum is weakening.

“Things have started to move up in Korea, even if not at full steam yet,” Ronald Man, a Hong Kong-based analyst at HSBC Holdings Plc, said before the release. “This momentum would need to be sustained for economic growth to pick up.”

South Korea’s won was little changed at the 9 a.m. opening in Seoul, after reaching a 13-month high yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Kospi (KOSPI) stock index fell 0.4 percent.

Beating Estimates

Imports rose 1.5 percent from a year earlier in October, the ministry said today. The trade surplus was $3.8 billion after a $3.1 billion excess in September.

The nation’s biggest companies have shown resilience, with Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest carmaker, reporting profit that beat analysts’ estimates in the third quarter.

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the world’s biggest maker of TVs and mobile phones, said Oct. 26 that operating profit from telecommunications more than doubled as its Galaxy brand devices widened their lead over Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

South Korea’s output rose 0.8 percent in September from August, when it dropped a revised 0.9 percent, Statistics Korea said yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eunkyung Seo in Seoul at eseo3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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