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South Korean trade kicked things up a notch again in February as growth in both exports and imports blew past expectations to the highest levels since 2012.

Exports grew 20.2 per cent year-on-year in February, accelerating from an 11.2 per cent rise in January. A median forecast from economists compiled by Reuters had predicted a rise of only 14.7 per cent.

That was just shy of the previous peak in February 2012, when shipments from the country shot up by 20.6 per cent.

Imports were up 23.3 per cent year on year, well up from the previous month’s rate of 18.6 per cent and beating even a median forecast from economists of 21.7 per cent.

February growth in inbound shipments was likewise the highest since February 2012, when they rose 23.9 per cent.

Those flows shook out to a trade surplus of $7.2bn in February, far above a $3.2bn level in January and easily beating a median forecast of $4.9bn from economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

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