A majority of South Korean exporters remain bullish about their business activity in the second quarter of this year, but they are worried about growing uncertainties like political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, a poll showed Sunday.
The Export Business Survey Index (EBSI) came in at 105.4 for the April-June period, down from 116.3 for the current quarter, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists. The upcoming three months mark the eighth consecutive quarter that the index has stayed above the benchmark.
"The country's exports are expected to remain strong in the coming quarter, but the drop in the index signals that the growth rate of overseas shipments is likely to slow somewhat," KITA said in a statement.
Exports of South Korea, the fourth-largest economy in Asia, are expected to grow about 15 percent on-year to reach a record high of $513 billion in 2011.
By industrial sector, manufacturers of optical instruments expressed the most positive outlook by registering an EBSI of 122.9, followed by machinery makers with 118.2 and shipbuilders with 115.
The index for farm and fisheries products fell sharply from three months earlier, with that for the petrochemical industry dropping below the benchmark 100 for the first time in three quarters.
Out of the 1,003 companies surveyed, 28.6 percent said they expected difficulties to arise from increased raw materials prices in the next quarter while 20.6 percent answered the increased volatility of the South Korean currency will likely be the largest problem for them, according to the survey.