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Korea's domestic demand slows down, offsets recovery in exports, production: KDI

The South Korean economy is enjoying a steady uptick in overseas sales and a modest improvement in manufacturing production in recent months, but the pace of recovery is being hurt by lukewarm private consumption caused by rising uncertainties, a state-run think tank said Thursday.

In the latest monthly economic report, the Korea Development Institute said that Asia's fourth-largest economy is being led by brisk exports and output of semiconductors.

Industrial output rose 2.6 percent in August from a year earlier, expanding from the previous month's 2 percent gain, on an increase in electronic parts and cars.


Production of the service sector also moved up 2.1 percent on-year in August, while the manufacturing capacity utilization rate fell slightly to 72 percent in the same month from 73.1 percent tallied in July.

Exports, South Korea's key economic driver, are also doing well as September numbers soared 35 percent on-year on the back of rising global demand. Outbound shipments of semiconductors shot up 70 percent last month on releases of new mobile smartphones, with a 107.2 percent surge in steel products and a 57.6 percent rise in vehicles.

However, the KDI report said private consumption has remained in the doldrums for months as consumer sentiment dropped for two straight months to a five-month low of 107.7 in September.

Retail sales edged up 0.8 percent in August, slowing down from a 3.5 percent gain in July due to a sharp drop in sales of durable goods like wireless devices. (Yonhap)


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