SEOUL, April 28 South Korea warned on Sunday its
exports this month would barely grow as the yen's slide directly
hurts sales to Japan and damaged the price competitiveness of
its exporters competing with the Japanese in other markets.
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said the country's
overall exports were influenced more by the strength of the
global demand than the yen's value, but added weakness in the
Japanese currency was negative to South Korea's overseas sales.
Exports by Asia's fourth-largest economy will probably grow
only 1 percent to 2 percent for the whole of this month from a
year ago even as there are two more working days this year, the
ministry said in an unscheduled statement.
This would still be a small improvement after exports grew
0.5 percent in the first quarter from the comparable 2012
period, swinging from a 0.3 percent drop in the final quarter of
last year and marking their first growth in a year.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is due to publish
April exports and imports data on Wednesday.
The finance ministry, also in charge of foreign exchange
policy, said it would "pay attention" to currency movements, a
rhetoric often used to indicate its intention to intervene in
case of a big change in the value of the won.
The yen has dropped 20 percent against the dollar
since the end of September last year on Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe's massive monetary easing drive aimed at ending deflation,
and giving Japanese exporters an upper hand against rivals.
South Korean policymakers have said its automobile and steel
makers are the most vulnerable to the falling yen in terms of
export competitiveness and profitability because they are in
fierce competition with the Japanese in key export markets.
(Reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)