South Korea’s central bank reported today that South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 1.2% QoQ in 4Q21, leading to GDP growth of 4% in 2021, driven by stronger-than-expected exports.
GDP for 2021 was unchanged from the preliminary estimate, but GDP for the fourth quarter was slightly above the preliminary estimate of 1.1%.
GDP growth of 4% in 2021 indicates that the South Korean economy is recovering after contracting by 0.9% in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic. A 1.2% increase in GDP in the fourth quarter suggests that the economy is continuing to grow, compared with growth of only 0.3% in the third quarter.
Contributing to GDP growth in the fourth quarter was that exports and the services sector performed better than expected in this period.
South Korea’s latest export report shows that exports in February rose 20.6% year-on-year to $53.91 billion. While exports of chips, automobiles and other key goods soared, imports rose 25.1% in February to $53.07 billion. This resulted in South Korea running a trade surplus of $840 million in February.