South Korea’s economy is exposed to greater external uncertainties at a time when domestic conditions have deteriorated from weak industrial activity, demand, and jobs, said the finance ministry in its monthly review of the economy.
“The industrial data in September was weak. Despite steadiness in exports and consumption figures, they are exposed to uncertainties from sluggish investment and jobs, worsening trade conflict between the U.S. and China, and rising oil prices,” the ministry said in its November review.
Its tone has decisively turned subdued after repeating that recovery remained strong in past months despite worsening data.
The Bank of Korea and state-run think tank Korea Development Institute all turned negative about the economy and lowered their growth estimates for this year and the next.
The ministry report showed that the number of new jobs reached 45,000 in September from a year ago, which is higher than 3,000 in August. The figure, however, has remained below 100,000 for an 8th consecutive month. The number of unemployed reached 1.024 million, remaining above 1 million for the 9th consecutive month.
Korea’s exports reached $54.97 billion in October, up 22.7 percent from a year ago. Average daily exports dropped 4 percent to $2.39 billion.
The report also showed domestic sales of passenger vehicles jumped 22.7 percent in October from a year earlier while department store sales up 3.9 percent and domestic card spending up 13.2 percent. Discount store sales, however, fell 12.2 percent during the same period.
Facility investment rose 2.9 percent on-month in September on increased machinery investment but transportation equipment investment declined.
By Sohn Il-seon and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]