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Korea‘s industrial output grows 6.2% in Oct.

Nov. 30, 2011 - 21:13 By Korea Herald
South Korea’s industrial output continued to grow in October from a year earlier, despite persistent global uncertainties caused by eurozone woes and problems facing advanced industrialized economies, a government report showed Wednesday.

According to the report by Statistics Korea, production in the mining and manufacturing industries expanded 6.2 percent last month from a year earlier. The October figure represents the 28th consecutive on-year expansion since July 2009.

However, industrial output dropped 0.7 percent from the previous month, after rebounding in September.

In September, industrial output grew 6.9 percent on-year and rose 1.2 percent compared to August.

The latest report showed that vehicle production, including complete knockdown sets that can be assembled into cars abroad, fell 3.0 percent, with video and audio equipment numbers dropping 4.3 percent from the month before.

Reflecting this, the country‘s factory operating rate fell 1.8 percentage points from the previous month to 79.5 percent of capacity in October.

“Despite some weak numbers compared to the month before, annual growth was fueled by solid gains in automobiles and semiconductors that offset losses in video and audio equipment and electric products,” the statistical agency said,

Output of semiconductors and related parts surged 26.3 percent on brisk exports with automobile production jumping 11.7 percent on-year.

The monthly report, in addition, showed numbers for the service sector, which acts as a barometer of the country’s domestic economy, rising 0.7 percent from the month before.

Retail sales increased 0.6 percent last month from September, with facility investment plunging 12.1 percent as companies spent less on general machinery, electric products and automobiles.

Compared to the year before retail sales rose 2.2 percent and facility investment fell 11.9 percent.

The statistical office, meanwhile, said that both the coincident and leading economic indexes fell 0.3 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points, respectively, compared to the previous month.

The indexes measure current and future economic conditions and help gauge how the economy is performing at present and will in the future. The dip marked the second consecutive month that both indexes fell and paints a relatively gloomy picture of the economy.

The report comes as Seoul‘s policymakers are facing heightened uncertainty caused by external factors such as general economic slowdowns in major economies, including the United States, Europe and China.

Such developments are bad news for Asia’s fourth largest economy, which relies heavily on exports to maintain growth. (Yonhap News)