Industrial output rebounds in March
Industrial output rebounds in March
  • Sean Kim
  • 승인 2017.04.28 10:35
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South Korea's industrial output rebounded to rise 1 percent last month from a month earlier on a rise in the production of automobiles and electronics parts, government data showed Friday.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries rose 1 percent on-month in March, turning around from a 3.3 percent on-month drop in February, according to the data by Statistics Korea.

From a year earlier, the figure rose 3 percent on-year in March on the back of a sharp increase in the semiconductor and machinery sectors.

Production in the service sector edged up 0.4 percent in March from a month earlier, with a 2.8 percent on-year rise.

Retail sales stayed flat last month compared to the previous month but posted a 1.6 percent gain from a year earlier.

For all industries, output increased 1.2 percent in March from a month earlier and advanced 4 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

The statistics office said the recent upswing in South Korea's exports led to the positive numbers.

Outbound shipments jumped 13.7 percent on-year in March, marking the fifth consecutive month of growth since November last year on the back of a recovery in global trade and rising oil prices. Moreover, South Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) increased 0.9 percent from the previous quarter, the fastest since the second quarter of last year.

"Exports are the key economic driver for the economy, which depends on trade for more than 75 percent of South Korea's domestic product, and the backbone manufacturing industry is closely linked with global demand," said Eo Woon-sun, director of the short-term industrial statistics division at Statistics Korea. "Nearly all data gained ground last month. We see that the economy is showing signs of a moderate upturn."

Consequently, key industries such as the chipmaking and carmaking sectors brought about positive data in March on brisk overseas demand.

From a month earlier, output of cars increased 5.4 percent on-month and that of electronics parts advanced 5 percent to pull off a 1 percent gain in March, offsetting a 5.9 percent fall in metal processing and a 2 percent drop in electric equipment.

Production of semiconductors soared 24 percent on-year in March on the back of new smartphones like the Galaxy S8 of Samsung Electronics, continuing its steep rise of a 34.8 percent on-year surge in January and a 14.3 percent jump in December.

The average factory operation rate stood at 72.6 percent in March, up 1.6 percentage points from the previous month.

On the demand side, however, private consumption remained relatively lukewarm amid sluggish consumer sentiment. Retail sales rose 3.2 percent on-month in February but it stayed unchanged in March.

"We were worried that the retail sales data might finish in negative territory in March but it didn't. It sustained February's upward trend in March," said the official. "We can say that private consumption is also on a recovery path, although it is very slow."

Facility investment advanced 12.9 percent on-month in March, with a 22.8 percent on-year surge, while a recent boom in the real estate market led to an 18 percent on-year jump and a 3.7 percent on-month gain in completed construction. (Yonhap)

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