South Korean FinMin "Closely Monitoring Markets" After Exports Collapse

Between the failed Trump-Kim talks in Hanoi and now this collapse in exports (and imports), South Korea's finance ministry has been quick to reassure investors that it will "closely monitor" financial markets...

South Korean exports tumbled more than expected in February, as slowing growth in China and falling semiconductor prices take a toll on Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Shipments fell 11.1 percent from a year earlier, versus economists’ median forecast of a 9.5 percent drop.

Additionally, South Korean Chip exports fell 24.8% YoY in Feb (worse than the 23.3% YoY drop in Jan) as chip prices fell.

As a reminder, South Korea releases its trade data earlier than most other major economies and is a key link in the global supply chain, making it a bellwether for trade.

"Beijing is Seoul’s largest trading partner, with exports to China amounting to about 10 percent of Korea’s GDP," said Bloomberg Economics’ Justin Jimenez.

 "Our base case is that a continued cool down in Sino-U.S. tensions will provide some relief to China’s economy -- and in turn, South Korea’s. A breakdown in talks though, remains the key risk."

Imports fell 12.6 percent in February, compared with an 11.6 percent drop forecast by economists.

Just as with last night's collapse in China's PMIs, South Korean officials are blaming the trade collapse on a few shorts days in February due to the lunar new year.