South Korea’s industrial data in November raised hopes for a strengthening in domestic demand with the strongest recovery in consumer spending in nearly nine years and double-digit expansion in corporate investment.
Seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output gained 0.2 percent on month, recovering from a 1.5 percent drop in the previous month, according to data released by the Statistics Korea Thursday. Against a year-ago, it was down 1.6 percent.
The main Kospi closed Thursday, the last trading day of 2017, at 2,467.49, up 1.26 percent from the previous session. The won ended at 1,070.5 against the U.S. dollar, up 3.60 won from the previous close.
Manufacturing activity was driven by a 4.2 percent on-month gain in automobiles sector that made a sharp turnaround from 11.3 percent dip in October. Equipment output also rose 3.2 percent on month in November thanks to increased demand by the country’s major chipmakers
Factory operation averaged at 71.3 percent, the same as the previous month. Inventory level fell 1.7 percent on month.
Service sector output, an indicator for domestic demand, surged 2.5 percent, marking the largest gain since August 2006.
Retail sales - a barometer for private consumption - soared 5.6 percent on month, sharply reversing from 2.9 percent dip in the previous month. It is the largest on-month gain since February 2009. The statistics office attributed the jump to weak figures in the previous month and a rise in imported car sales on top of increased online purchases during offshore shopping blowout season.
Capital investment grew 10.1 percent on month, a significant rebound from a 14.8 percent contraction in the previous month as chipmakers as well as automakers ramped up facility capacity. Machineries orders were up 12.7 percent on month and investment in transportation equipments up 3.6 percent.
By Lee Yoo-sup and Cho Jeehyun
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