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Industrial production index grows for 3rd straight month: report

South Korea's industrial production growth index for the manufacturing and mining sector grew for the third straight month in December despite concerns of general economic slowdown, a government report showed Wednesday.

The report by Statistics Korea said index numbers reached 63.6 in the cited month, which is also the second month in a row that figures topped the "break-even" 50 mark.

A index reading exceeding 50 translates into more companies increasing output on-month compared to those that cut back. 

The index, which reached 67.3 in June, started falling in the following months to hit a low of 36.4 in September, before making a rebound in October and November when numbers moved up to 45.1 and 53.1 respectively.

"The latest readings may be a sign that despite general concerns that business conditions may deteriorate in the new year, frontline companies in manufacturing and mining businesses are doing relatively well," the statistical office said.

It, however, said that while index figures rose for steel, chemical and mining, there were some decreases in semiconductors, medicine and glass products.

The state agency, meanwhile, said that the production growth index for the service sector rose for three consecutive months to reach 66.3 in the last month of 2010, with banks, medical care and communications areas doing well to boost growth.

Service sector index numbers rose to 69.4 in July but fell to 44.4 two months later. They started to make a comeback in October and November with the index numbers rising to 48.1 and 58.8 each.

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