South Korea’s industrial output maintained its growth momentum in February thanks to the continued robust activity in chipmaking lines and recovery in automobile shipments and consumer spending.
According to Statistics Korea on Friday, seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output in February gained 1.1 percent from a month ago. Against a year-ago period, it plunged 6.4 percent, compared to a 4.3 percent on-year increase in January.
The main Kospi closed Friday up 0.39 percent at 2,445.85. The won rose added 2.4 won to end at 1,063.50 against the U.S. dollar.
Manufacturing output was boosted by a 5.1 percent on-month gain in the automobile sector and 4.7 percent growth in semiconductor output, despite an 8.7 percent fall in the transportation equipment sector.
The planned shutdown of GM Korea’s assembly lines in Gunsan did not have a big impact on the overall manufacturing output as the domestic auto industry is mostly run by the two auto giants, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, according to an official from the statistics agency. The factory shutdown only hit North Jeolla Province where its manufacturing output growth retreated from 3.7 percent in January to 0.7 percent in February
[Image edited by Song Ji-yoon]
Factory output averaged 72.3 percent, up 2 percentage points from a month ago. Inventory level grew 1.1 percent on month and 8.6 percent on year.
Service sector output, an indicator for domestic demand, remained unchanged from the previous month. Wholesale and retail sectors gained 1.6 percent due to the base effect from sluggish sales in January amid cold weather. Healthcare and welfare sector increased 0.6 percent.
Retail sales - a barometer for private consumption - grew 1.0 percent, as semi-durable goods like clothing and non-durable goods like fuel rose 4.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
Capital investment gained 1.3 percent, driven by a 21.7 percent surge in transportation equipment investment. Machinery orders slipped 4.4 percent.
By Yoon Won-sup and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]