Last month, South Korea marked improvements in industrial output, retail sales, and facility investment. It’s the first time in more than a year that the country logged increases in all three areas. But semiconductor production saw a sharp decline, –still raising concerns that the economy is slowing.
Data released by Statistics Korea on Friday shows that the index for the country’s overall industrial output in February stood at 109-point-4 –up point-3 percent on month. It’s the second month in a row that industrial output has increased compared to the previous month. This was attributed to the rise in services which rose by point-7 percent overall with the dining and accommodation sector as well as the sports and leisure activities sector showing the biggest growth since January.
Due to favorable weather and the slowing of the COVID-19 pandemic, all industrial production increased zero-point-3 percent on-month due to growth in industries such as accommodation, food, art, sports, and leisure. However, output from the mineral and manufacturing industries fell by 3-point-2 percent on month due to a decline in semiconductor production which slumped by more than 17-percent on month, and over 41-percent compared to the same month last year. This is the greatest decline on month since December 2008.
But the index for retail sales — a key gauge of consumer demand — saw a rise of 5-point-3 percent compared to the previous month, standing at 108-point-4 in February. This significant rise came following a consecutive three-month decline that began in November last year. Sales across all three sectors measured by the agency –divided into durables, non-durables and semi-durable goods –saw a rise.
In particular, department store and auto shop sales showed increases compared to January. Facility investment also rose by point-2 percent on-month, due to continued investment in manufacturing facilities by companies amid growing expectations that semiconductor prices will improve in the second half of the year.
Source: Arirang News