KOREA CONSENSUS (Negative Consensus/Bull Market Indicator) Falling exports signalling global slowdown?

June 5, 2015

The latest export numbers from South Korea are out and they continue to reinforce a consensus belief that the global economy, despite epic injections of cash from central banks continues to trudge along.  South Korea’s exports dropped by a huge 10.9% in dollar terms between May 2014 and May 2015, the biggest annual decline since the depths of the Great Recession in August 2009. Even in local terms, exports still fell 3 percent. 

Should we care more about Korean exports? Apparently we should . Korean export data comes out very early compared to other major data releases, and Korea counts the huge economies of China, Japan, Europe, and the U.S. as major partners. That makes Korea’s big export-focused industries a good barometer for the rest of the world.

As a result of accelerated money printing in Japan, the value of the Korean Won has surged making their exports more expensive compared to Japan. This combined with overall reduced demand for goods appears to be turning the global economy into the “meh-conomy”.

At some point these negative economic balance have to find their way into depressing the price of equities, but as long as Central Banks keep feeding the beast and flood the world with cash, the environment is still there for stock prices to appreciate.