During the first quarter, Korea's economy has made progress following the worst recession in many decades. Last March, exports reached US$37.7 billion; it is almost same as a year ago ('08 March, US$36 billion).
KOTRA and Samsung Economy Research Institute announced, the 2010 Second Quarter KOTRA-SERI Export Leading Index (KSELI). This index is created to estimate the surge of exports based on foreign buyers' opinions. This time KSELI surveyed 2,063 foreign buyers and the number is 51.6 points, which is an increase of 0.9 points from last year. If the index is more than 50 points, it represents an improvement.
According to KESELI, the quality of the products will be the key for export improvement. There are three indexes to measure exports: price competitiveness index, quality competitiveness index and exporting nations' business index. Among the three standards, foreign buyers estimated 59.2 points in quality competitiveness, rising 1.2 points from a year ago while the price competitiveness fell 1.6 points, to settle at 49.8 points.
The survey tells emerging markets such as Asia (61.2), Central and South America (56.5), China (54.4) and Central Africa (52.9) have been improving. It also forecasts the export performance will improve in Japan, which grew to 55.0 (first quarter was 43.2). The reason why Japan has a high score is due to the price competitiveness, which is an increase from last year. Meanwhile, the exports in the regions such as, CIS (43.2), Europe (43.6) and North America (49.6) are seeing the inactivity of the export trade.
Automobiles (60.3) and automobile parts (57.3) have made the biggest recovery. Thus, automobile parts showed the biggest increase, which rose from 51.8 to 57.3 points. Analysis showed that after the Toyota issues, ethnicity and quality are valued more than price. This is due to the fact that there is more demand for Korean products. Furthermore, steel & Iron (48.2), textiles (48.9), home appliances (49.4) are slowly making progress.
About the second quarter Export leading Index, the chief of Trade & Commerce Information KOTRA, Oh Seong-Keun mentioned, "Our steady betterments of quality are finally paying off in the world market." Kim Deuk-gab, the head of the global research at Samsung Economy Research Institute added, "To take initiative at a changed world market after a recession, we need to capture it with high quality."