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OECD leading index for S. Korea edges down in Sept.

A leading economic index for South Korea inched down in September, heralding a contraction for Asia's No. 4 economy down the road, data showed Thursday.

The composite leading indicator of economic activity for South Korea stood at 98.69 in September, down 0.09 point from the previous month, according to the data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

September marked the 28th consecutive month of on-month decline, the longest losing streak among members of the Paris-based club of major economies.


South Korea's CLI has remained below the benchmark 100 since September last year. A reading below 100 means the economy is expected to contract going forward.

The CLI gauges how an economy will fare four to six months ahead, based on industrial output, gross domestic product and housing and financial market conditions.

September's CLI drop came amid slowing global trade stemming from a drawn-out trade war between the United States and China -- the world's top two economies.

South Korea's exports have been hit hard by the trade dispute between its two largest trading partners, as well as a sluggish chip industry. Seoul's overseas shipments sank 14.7 percent on-year to $46.78 billion in October, marking the 11th consecutive month of fall.

Semiconductors are one of key export items for South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest memory chipmaker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc.

In September, the OECD projected the South Korean economy to grow 2.1 percent on-year in 2019 and 2.3 percent next year.

In July, Seoul's finance ministry cut its 2019 growth outlook to a 2.4-2.5 percent range from an earlier projection of between 2.6 percent and 2.7 percent, citing flagging exports and weak investment. (Yonhap)