Electronics seen pushing up South Korea exports in second quarter - trade group

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's exports are likely to improve in the second quarter of the year, led by household electronic products and handsets, a trade group report said on Tuesday. The export business survey index (EBSI) rose for a third straight quarter to 112.0 for the April-June quarter from 107.1 for the previous period, the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said in a statement. Index readings above 100 indicate more survey respondents are positive about future business conditions than those who are pessimistic. The KITA statement said demand from advanced economies will boost sales of premium household electronics products while newly released smartphone models in April will prop up handset shipments in the second quarter - despite heated competition from rivals. Textiles were expected to drag on exports, reflecting sluggish global demand and low raw material costs. The KITA survey was conducted from March 10 to 23 and responses were taken from over 700 exporters nationwide. The outlook comes a day before the government releases March trade data. Analysts in a Reuters poll have tipped exports to have slipped 1.8 percent and imports to have dropped a much faster 9.3 percent on-year. Exports from Asia's fourth-largest economy have lagged in recent months on patchy global demand. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Eric Meijer)