|[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]|
South Korea’s factory output gained steepest in four months led by auto and chip demand, while consumption returned to the positive territory in June before the country came under strongest-yet distancing measures due to worst-ever outbreak of Covid-19.
The seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output in June climbed 2.2 percent from a month ago, snapping three-month losing streak, Statistics Korea reported Friday. Against a year earlier, it jumped 11.9 percent.
When counting in services, overall industrial output gained 1.6 percent against the previous month hitting record high after staying flat in May.
For the second quarter, factory output gained 0.4 percent versus the previous quarter and 7.3 percent from the year-ago period.
Factory operation averaged 73.9 percent in June, edging up 0.6 percentage points from the previous month. Inventory levels slipped 1.1 percent on month and 5.2 percent on year.
The benchmark Kospi fell 0.93 percent to 3212.53 as of 10:46 a.m. on Friday. The Korean won fell 0.09 percent or 1.00 against the U.S. dollar to 1,147.50.
Auto production remained robust gaining 6.4 percent against a month ago on sustained demand from the overseas markets. Semiconductor output also expanded 8.6 percent on month.
Service output rose 1.6 percent from the previous month.
Financial and insurance sectors expanded 10.1 percent and retail and wholesale segment gained 3.9 percent on increased sales of clothes and medical supplies.
Retail sales, a gauge of private consumption, rebounded in June gaining 1.4 percent from a month earlier, after suffering the biggest fall in 10 months in May.
The rebound came as people increased economic activity on summer sale season and vaccine program.
Sales of durable goods like cars fell 3.3 percent, while non-durable goods and semi-durable goods went up 1.6 percent.
Capital investment edged down 0.2 percent from a month ago. Spending in machinery dropped 1.5 percent while transportation equipment gained 4.5 percent.
Leading indicators stayed mildly positive. The coincident index, which measures present economic activities, added 0.1 point. The leading indicator, a gauge of where the economy is headed, inched up 0.3 point.
For the April-June period, mining and manufacturing output slipped 1.0 percent on quarter but gained 13.0 percent on year. Service output rose 1.7 percent from three months ago and 5.7 percent from a year prior. Retail sales added 2.7 percent on quarter and 4.4 percent on year as sales of durable, non-durable and semi-durable goods increased across the board.
Positive output remains uncertain for the coming months under toughest-yet mitigation rules from July amid flareup of Covid-19 in four-digit numbers.
“The enforcement of the toughest-ever virus curb measures have heightened economic uncertainties and could dampen consumer and business sentiment, but negative economic impacts may be relatively smaller than the wake of past massive outbreaks,” said Eo Woon-sun, an official at Statistics Korea
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