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Little respite seen for plunging South Korea exports in Feb: poll
[SEOUL] The slump in South Korean exports is expected to show no sign of abating in February, despite an extra working day versus last year, a Reuters poll found on Monday.
The median forecast from a survey of 15 analysts showed exports were seen likely to fall 15.5 per cent in February from a year earlier. This would be slightly less severe than the 18.8 per cent drop seen in January while extending the falling trend that started last year against a backdrop of weak global growth.
Imports were projected to fall 15.4 per cent in February in annual terms, versus a 20 per cent slide in January, the poll found.
"Weak external demand is likely to have kept exports soft, despite the boost from one extra working day," said Wai Ho Leong, economist at Barclays.
February this year has 20 working days, compared to 19 days in 2015.
Industrial output in January is expected to have fallen by a median 0.6 per cent from a month earlier, the same poll showed, compared to a 1.3 per cent rise in December as weak exports hobbled manufacturing.
Meanwhile, inflation likely picked up slightly in February to an annual one per cent as harsh weather drove up fresh produce prices, the survey found.
The spike in consumer spending that goes with the Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in early February this year, would have also contributed some price pressure, analysts said.
The consumer price index rose 0.8 per cent in January.
Inflation on the whole was likely to be subdued for a while as global oil prices remained weak, respondents said.
The trade data will be published on March 1, while industrial output and inflation data are due on March 2 and 3, respectively.