Cry not, South Korea, Japan and China, for stock_turder3 has proclaimed this a non-recession, let alone worse. Werd! South Koreaâs January Exports Decline by Record 32.8% (Update1) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=agpptS4vst0E&refer=home By William Sim Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- South Koreaâs exports tumbled by a record 32.8 percent in January, foreshadowing a deepening slump in Asiaâs export-driven economies. Shipments fell by the most since figures were first compiled in 1957, and at almost twice the pace of Decemberâs 17.9 percent decline, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in Gwacheon today. The trade report is among the regionâs first economic releases for January. Faltering exports suggest the economy is headed for its first recession since the Asian financial crisis a decade ago and increases pressure on policy makers to accelerate stimulus measures and interest-rate cuts. South Koreaâs Posco, Asiaâs third-largest steelmaker, will extend production cuts for a third month in February, spokeswoman Ko Min Jin said today. âAn outright recession is inevitable,â said Kwon Young Sun, an economist at Nomura International Ltd. in Hong Kong. âThis is an early indicator for the region, and the drop suggests exports in Asia wonât be good.â The median estimate was for a 29.1 percent export decline, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Imports fell 32.1 percent, and the trade deficit was $2.97 billion in January. Chung Jae Hoon, director general of trade at the ministry, told reporters that exports may drop through the first quarter. Koreaâs won, the regionâs worst performing currency last year, slipped 1 percent to 1,393.19 per dollar at 11:20 a.m. in Seoul. The Kospi share index gained 0.2 percent to 1,164.89. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index lost 1.1 percent to 82.2 as of 11:22 a.m. in Tokyo. Two stocks fell for each that advanced. China Slowdown Evidence of the regionâs deepening slump is mounting. Chinaâs manufacturing contracted for a sixth month in January, the CLSA purchasing managersâ index showed today. Planned investment in Australia dropped last quarter for the first time in four years as mining companies scaled back production amid tumbling commodity prices, research-company Access Economics reported today. Japanese manufacturers, including NEC Corp. and Hitachi Ltd., announced at least 30,000 job cuts on Jan. 30. Factory production in Asiaâs largest economy slumped an unprecedented 9.6 percent in December from the previous month. Global airport freight traffic decreased 19.7 percent in December from a year earlier, the Geneva-based Airports Council International reported Jan. 30. Freight passing through airports in the Asia-Pacific region tumbled 23.4 percent last month. Recession Looms South Koreaâs economy shrank 5.6 percent last quarter from the previous three months, the biggest drop since 1998. Exports are equivalent to 50 percent of gross domestic product. The global economy will expand 0.5 percent this year, the weakest gain in the postwar era, the International Monetary Fund said on Jan. 28. âThings are getting worse as the global recession spills over to China and other emerging economies,â said Lee Sang Jae, an economist at Hyundai Securities Co. in Seoul. Exports to China, the nationâs biggest overseas market, tumbled 32.2 percent during the first 20 days of January, todayâs report showed. Shipments to the U.S. declined 21.5 percent, exports to the Europe Union plunged 46.9 percent and sales to Latin America dropped 36 percent. Exports to the Middle East fell 7.5 percent. South Koreaâs ministry said exports and imports slumped in January partly because of fewer workings days due of the Lunar New Year holidays, which fell in February of the previous year. More Stimulus âPolicy makers need to take more steps to protect the economy from the global shock,â said Chun Chong Woo, an economist at Standard Chartered First Bank Korea Ltd. in Seoul. The government has allocated about 140 trillion won ($101 billion) in extra liquidity, tax cuts and spending. The central bank reduced the benchmark interest rate to a record low of 2.5 percent on Jan. 9, the fifth cut since October. The bank signaled itâs ready to act again when the board meets on Feb. 12. South Koreaâs exports of semiconductors plunged 47 percent in January from a year earlier, and those of automobiles declined 55 percent. Sales of ships rose 20 percent. Industrial production fell by a record in December as South Korean exporters Hyundai Motor Co., Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and LG Display Co. reduced output to cope with sagging demand. Samsung Electronics Co., the worldâs largest maker of memory chips, liquid-crystal displays and televisions, reported last week its first quarterly loss as the global recession drove down prices.