The Korea Herald


Easy recovery of Korea’s manufacturing unlikely: BOK

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : Sept. 3, 2020 - 15:58

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)
It might take longer than expected for South Korea’s manufacturing productivity to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, even if exports recover, the central bank said Thursday.

“It has been found that a slowdown in manufacturing productivity is tied to a drop in exports, but we were unable to find a relationship between growth in exports and short-term improvement in manufacturing,” the Bank of Korea said in its regular economic report.

“Even if the global economy recovers, increasing demand for outbound shipments, it is likely that South Korea’s manufacturing productivity will be unable recover to the previous level in short-term,” it added.

BOK data showed that after 2010, Korea’s manufacturing productivity and exports became co-related in terms of sluggish growth and performance.

The annual growth rate for exports fell from 10.6 percent in the period spanning 2000 to 2009, to 6.5 percent from 2010 to 2017.

The annual growth in total factor productivity -- a measure of productivity calculated by dividing economy-wide total production by the weighted average of inputs such as labor and capital -- fell from 1.5 percent to 0.2 percent in the same period.

The BOK said it sought whether the opposite -- an increase in annual growth rate for exports could elevate total factor productivity -- could be plausible, but found that the synergy wasn’t as strong in this case.

“While exports and manufacturing productivity showed co-relations, the drop in exports leading to drop in productivity showed stronger ties and statistics compared with the opposite case,” it said.

According to the BOK, Asia’s fourth-largest economy would need continued development in technology through steady investment and R&D, in order for exports to form a positive relationship with manufacturing productivity.

By Jung Min-kyung (