Driven by strong overseas shipments of electronic components and investment activities to meet the growing demand, South Korea’s industrial activity regained vitality in March, government data showed.
According to Statistics Korea on Friday, the seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output in March gained 1.0 percent on month, sharply reversing from a 3.3 percent contraction in February. Against the year-ago period, factory production gained 3.0 percent, fueled by an increase of 24 percent in semiconductors and 17.1 percent in machinery equipment.
Factory operation averaged 72.6 percent in March, up from 71.0 percent in the previous month.
In the most positive sign yet for the country’s industrial prospects and domestic demand, capital investment jumped 12.9 percent on month and 22.8 percent on year as the world’s two largest chipmakers made heavy investment to ramp up capacity for memory chips in high demand amid ongoing transitions to automation, computing and smart devices across the world.
The service sector activity added 0.4 percent against February, helped by an increase in the science, technology, and real estate sector.
Retail sales - a barometer for consumption - remained unchanged from the previous month, but demand for cars and smartphones increased due to new product releases.
“Improvements were found across-the-board, suggesting the economy in a recovery stage,” said Ou, Un-seon, head of Short-Term Industry Statistics Division at statistics office.
By Kim Gyu-sik
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