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Industrial output rises for 4th month; retail sales fall in February

March 29, 2024 - 09:39 By Yonhap
(Statistics Korea)

South Korea's industrial output rose for the fourth consecutive month in February on the back of increasing semiconductor production, but retail sales fell amid high inflation, data showed Friday.

Industrial output increased 1.3 percent on-month last month, following a 0.4 percent rise the previous month, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Industrial production has been on a constant increase since December.

Last month's growth came as the output in the overall mining and manufacturing sector rose 3.1 percent, the first upturn in three months, as chip production advanced 4.8 percent and the output of mechanical equipment jumped 10.3 percent.

The semiconductor industry has seen a gradual recovery of global demand since late last year after the monthslong downcycle.

The output in the service sector inched up 0.7 percent in February.

Compared with a year earlier, industrial output climbed 2 percent, with that of semiconductors surging 65.3 percent, the data showed.

Retail sales, a gauge of private spending, fell 3.1 percent on-month in February, the first drop since December last year.

It also was the biggest decline since July 2023.

The fall was led by dwindling sales of food, cosmetics and other non-durable goods.

On an on-year basis, however, retail sales inched up 0.9 percent.

"Though overall economic indices are good, consumption has lagged behind," an agency official said.

The weak consumption came as consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, rose back to over 3 percent in a month in February to stand at 3.1 percent on high prices of fruits, vegetables and other fresh food items, as well as high energy costs.

Facility investment increased 10.3 percent in February from the previous month, the sharpest gain since November 2014, when the figure went up 12.7 percent.

But construction investment shed 1.9 percent on-month, the data showed. (Yonhap)