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POLL-S.Korea’s Nov exports seen rebounding on chip sales, improving global demand

By Joori Roh and Jihoon Lee

SEOUL, Nov 27 (Reuters)South Korea’s exports likely bounced back in November and are expected to continue recovering for the time being, supported by strong chip sales and global demand, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

Outbound shipments in November were seen expanding 6.8% from a year earlier, according to a median estimate of 16 economists, rebounding from a 3.8% decline in October.

“Semiconductor shipments should take the lead, thanks to the continued increase in global demand for data centers, 5G and digital services,” DBS economist Ma Tieying said.

In fact, preliminary data showed chip exports surged 21.9% year-on-year in Nov. 1-20, towing a 11.1% growth in overall exports during the period.

Imports were seen edging up 0.2% in November, reversing a 5.6% fall seen in the previous month.

The survey result comes a day after the Bank of Korea kept its key policy rate steady for a fourth straight meeting, while raising its growth outlook for both this year and next. It currently sees the economy shrinking 1.1% this year, before rebounding 3.0% in 2021.

Despite worries about a third wave of coronavirus infections at home which appears to be worsening, economists expect the improvement in exports to lead the recovery in Asia’s fourth largest economy.

“The pickup in exports is important, because domestic consumption is likely to weaken in the fourth quarter, as a result of the third wave infections and renewed tightening of social distancing measures. Exports are expected to be a key driver for GDP growth in the fourth quarter,” Ma said.

Meanwhile, 13 economists predicted industrial output in October would decline by a seasonally adjusted 1.0% month-on-month, after growing 5.4% growth in September.

Fourteen economists also estimated consumer prices in November would rise a median 0.9% year-on-year, sharply higher than a 0.1% rise in the previous month.

Industrial output data is due to be released on Nov. 30 at 8 a.m. (2300 GMT Nov.29). Inflation data is due out on Dec. 2 at 8 a.m. (2300 GMT, Dec 1).

(Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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