The U.S. and emerging economies are expected to become key export markets for South Korean businesses in 2014, the country's trade promotion agency said Tuesday.
The predictions by Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), made at the annual global market strategy meeting in Seoul, follow a government announcement last week that it posted its largest trade surplus of $44.19 billion last year and expects exports to grow 6.4 percent on-year to $595.5 billion won in 2014.
In 2013, South Korea shipped out $559.72 billion worth of goods with imports hitting $515.53 billion.
KOTRA said that while the U.S. and emerging economies are expected to become more attractive as export markets, shipments to Japan may decrease due to the weak Japanese yen and rise in the consumption tax that could affect the purchasing power of ordinary people.
It added that overall, the new year promises to be marked by "transition" as the global economy on the whole regains buoyancy, although "tensions" coming from uncertainty could exert a negative pull.
By region, KOTRA said market conditions in the United States could fuel growth in the government policy market, information technology sector, parts and materials businesses, niche markets and in the tailor-made industrial areas.
For emerging markets, growth in China and India may be tempered, with the slack being taken up by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, thanks in part to the rapid pace of urbanization of the population in member countries and speed in which many countries are industrializing their economies. It said emerging markets may grow at a respectable 5 percent overall this year.
It said even if China's growth may not be as robust as in the past, expansion is still expected in its online distribution, knowledge-based industrial sectors and so-called smart social overhead capital areas.
For Europe, the agency said growth will be primarily led by Germany and Britain, with Greece and Spain also expected to pull off positive growth.
In addition, KOTRA said local exporters can take advantage of the Winter Olympic Games that kick off in Russia next month and preparations underway in Brazil to host the FIFA World Cup in June. (Yonhap NewS)