South Korea’s factory output in November rebounded by the strongest pace since the wake of the 2020 outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, led by robust chip and auto making that also fueled a seven-year jump in facility investment.
According to data released by Statistics Korea on Thursday, the seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output in November shot up 5.1 percent after 2.9 percent contraction in the previous month to bring about the biggest on-month gain since June 2020.
Against a year-ago period, output was 5.9 percent higher.
Manufacturing output rose 5.3 percent, driven by gains of 11.3 percent in automaking, 4.5 percent in chips and 5.7 percent in machinery.
Inventory levels eased 0.2 percent versus the previous month but were 8.8 percent higher from a year ago period. Factory operation averaged 75.1 percent, rising 4.0 percentage points from the previous month.
Overall industrial output including services segment in November also rebounded by the strongest since June 2020, adding 3.2 percent on month.
Services output increased 2.0 percent on month after 0.4 percent fall in the previous month, despite retightened social restrictions measures amid flare-up of Covid-19 wave.
Output in accommodation and restaurants gained 5.6 percent and performance, leisure, and sports 8.3 percent.
Retail sales retreated 1.9 percent amid fall in durable goods. Against a year ago, retail sales gained 4.6 percent.
Facility investment soared 10.9 percent – the first double-digit gain since November 2014 - after 5.0 percent contraction in October on active expansion in machinery, auto and ship-building sites. On year facility investment increased 9.2 percent.
Business sentiment stayed mixed amid uncertainties on the global industrial front from Covid-19 variant threat and supply bottleneck.
The cyclical component of composite coincident index, which reflects current economic situations, added 0.4 points from the previous month.
The cyclical component of composite leading index, which predicts the turning point in business cycle, was pointed to the south for the fifth month, down 0.4 points from October.
By Hye-seung Seo
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