Korean exports unexpectedly fell by 1.5% year-over-year in September.
Economists were looking for 2.5% growth.
Economists across Wall Street dub South Korean exports as the global economic canary in the coal mine.
Korean trade data is extremely sensitive to the economic activity in developed and emerging Asia. It 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.
In recent months, however, Korean trade data have been impacted significantly by the volatile yen, which has made Japanese goods more competitive than Korean goods in the international marketplace.
“Exports should continue their recent strength while imports should remain stable in September despite the impact of the Chuseok holidays,” said Societe Generale’s Suktae Oh ahead of the release. “We expect the September trade data to show strong exports driven by the strength of the US and Chinese economies, supporting both GDP growth and the Korean won.”