South Korea’s industrial activity rebounded in January thanks to rejuvenated automaking and robust facility expansion by technology and chemical companies that finished last year in record profits.
Seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output gained 1.0 percent on month, recovering from a 1.7 percent drop in the previous month, according to preliminary data released by the Statistics Korea Friday. It was up 4.6 percent against year-ago period when manufacturing activity was subdued.
The main Kospi bourse ended Friday down 1.04 percent at 2,402.16. The Korean currency closed at 1,080.30 won, up 2.5 won from the previous session.
Manufacturing output was helped by a 12.1 percent on-month gain in automobiles sector that made a sharp turnaround from an 18.8 percent dip in December. Semiconductor output rose 5.7 percent on month in January.
Factory operation averaged at 70.4 percent, up 0.2 percentage point from the previous month. Inventory added 0.9 percent on month.
[Image edited by Song Ji-yoon]
Service sector output, an indicator for domestic demand, grew 0.8 percent on month. Financial service and engineering sector rose 3.5 percent on month, and logistics and transportation sector up 2.2 percent. But wholesale/retail industry slipped 0.7 percent.
Retail sales - a barometer for private consumption - gained 1.7 percent on month, reversing from a 2.6 percent drop in the previous month, amid recovery in consumption of both durable and non-durable goods.
Capital investment expanded 6.2 percent and marked the highest on-month gain since March last year when it grew by 10.1 percent. Machineries orders were up 6.0 percent on month and investment in transportation equipments up 6.9 percent.
By Lee Yu-sup and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]