Korea's Jan. industrial output edges up, virus fallout in store to hit hard
Korea's Jan. industrial output edges up, virus fallout in store to hit hard
  • Cho Kyung-hee
  • 승인 2020.02.28 09:44
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South Korea's overall industrial output rose in January, but the rapid spread of the new coronavirus is widely expected to have an impact on industrial activities this month, data showed on Friday.

The country's overall industrial output gained 0.1 percent last month from a month earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

But production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries fell 1.3 percent from a month earlier, while that of the service sector moved up 0.4 percent.

From a year earlier, industrial output shed 0.5 percent, the data showed.

The economic fallout from the novel coronavirus is expected to be reflected in this month's data, according to the agency.

Production lines at China-based suppliers have been partially or fully shut down amid the COVID-19 outbreak, leading to a shortage of parts for local manufacturers as well.

The spread of the new coronavirus had an adverse impact on local industries to some extent, according to the agency.

"COVID-19 had a partial impact on the production from the service segment, as well as sales from duty-free shops," an official from the agency said. "The full-fledged impact, however, will be reflected in February's data."

The country saw its first new coronavirus case from a Chinese woman from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, on Jan. 20.

The total number of infections of the novel virus in South Korea, meanwhile, approached nearly 1,800 as of late Thursday, increasing more than 500 from a day earlier. The number of deaths also reached 13.

It marked a sharp increase from only around 10 cases reported last month.

The performance in January was also affected by Lunar New Year's Day, one of the largest holidays in South Korea, which fell in January this year, it added.

Retail sales and investment in January both lost ground from a month earlier. Retail sales fell 3.1 percent over the cited period, led by falling demand for cosmetics and automobiles, according to the data.

Facility investment decreased by a whopping 6.6 percent in January from a month earlier due to weak sentiment in the machinery and automobile segments.

Production of chips increased 3.3 percent on-month, while that of mechanical equipment decreased 7.1 percent. The production of telecom equipment also fell 24.1 percent amid a lack of new smartphones in the market.

The average factory operation rate stood at 75.8 percent in January, up 0.6 percentage point from a month earlier. (Yonhap)

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