Exports by industrial powerhouse South Korea showed virtually no growth last month,underlining a still fragile global economy squeezed by a depressed Europe as growth slows in emerging markets.
Overseas shipments by the worlds seventh-largest exporter rose just 0.2 per cent in November from a year earlier in dollar value,government data showed on Sunday,smaller than a median gain of 2.8 per cent tipped in a Reuters survey of 13 analysts.
Growth of sales to China,the US and the EU all slowed whereas exports to Southeast Asias 10-nation ASEAN bloc posted the worst decline since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis,the data showed.
Some of the big economies,such as the United States,are recovering,but are not there yet to spur corporate investment for more production and boost global trade much, said Park Sang-hyun,economist at HI Investment & Securities in Seoul.
Exports to the ASEAN dropped 11.2 per cent in November from a year earlier,the worst since August 2009,with countries like Indonesia quickly running out of steam,the data showed.
ASEAN takes 18 per cent of South Koreas total exports,compared with 27 per cent by China and 10 per cent for the US. South Korea is Asias fourth-largest economy.
Global trade will likely remain weak,at least through the first two quarters of next year,because any recovery in the big economies will mostly be led by consumption of small items instead of machinery and investment goods, Park said.
WTO data shows imports by the US fell 0.7 per cent for the January-September period from a year earlier,while the EU countries imported 4.1 per cent less from outside the bloc. Chinese imports grew 7.3 per cent.