A majority of South Korean exporters are optimistic about their business conditions in the second quarter of this year on the back of a recovery in global trade, a poll showed Tuesday.
The export business survey index (EBSI) of 828 exporting companies polled came to 106 for the April-June period, up sharply from 93.6 the previous quarter, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
It marks the first time in 13 months that the EBSI has exceeded the benchmark 100 level. A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists, while a reading below the benchmark means the opposite.
The EBSI for export contracts came to 113.6 for the coming quarter, with the index for their financial conditions reaching 113.5.
But the index for import controls and trade conflicts stood at 84.5, meaning a majority of the exporters expect more protectionist moves by such countries as the United States and China.
The second-quarter EBSI reached 121.8 for carmakers and auto parts companies, 118.1 for manufacturers of household items, 114 for machinery makers, and 111.8 for producers of medical equipment and optical instruments.
The surveyed exporters cited an increase in raw material prices as the most serious concern for their business. They are also worried about the growing volatility of the South Korean currency against the US dollar and importers' demand for markdowns.
"Exporters' business confidence swung to positive territory for the first time in five quarters, signaling the country's overseas shipments have entered a recovery phase," said Kim Kun-woo, a KITA researcher.
"With the global economy having yet to recover fully, exporters will likely face such destabilizing factors as fluctuating foreign exchange rates and China's expansion of its retaliation against South Korea over its missile defense system."
Local exporters' upbeat business outlook comes amid a marked recovery in South Korea's overseas shipments. The country's exports jumped 20.2 percent on-year to US$43.2 billion in February, marking the fastest clip in five years and the fourth consecutive month of increase. (Yonhap)