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Industrial output posts highest negative growth in 18 months

A container terminal at Busan Harbor (Yonhap)
A container terminal at Busan Harbor (Yonhap)
SEJONG -- South Korea’s industrial output and facilities investment declined on-month, though the two sectors also recorded positive growth on-year, reflecting economic uncertainty under constant pressure of the pandemic, data showed Tuesday.

The industrial output decreased by 1.9 percent in October from a month earlier, which marked the highest negative growth since it posted minus 2 percent in April 2020.

Production in the manufacturing segment, including automobiles and metals, decreased by 3 percent compared to the previous month, despite an increase in output for pharmaceuticals.

Output in the services segments also slipped, led by a slump in production in categories such as finance and science and technology.

Facilities investment in the nation declined by 5.4 percent on-month, led by a fall in investment in machinery and transportation devices.

The index for private consumption, meanwhile, has shown signs of a robust rebound in South Korea, particularly backed by a surge in turnover of department stores.

According to Statistics Korea, the overall turnover of retailers -- such as large discount chains and convenience stores -- in the nation came to 45.5 trillion won ($38.2 billion) in October, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier.

A noteworthy growth was seen among department stores, whose turnover increased by 23.5 percent, compared to the same month of 2020, to 3.3 trillion won in October.

Their September growth and the third-quarter growth also suggested a steady recovery mode at 22.6 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively, on-year.

Duty free stores also saw a modest sales increase amid the ongoing pandemic. Their turnover climbed 16.9 percent on-year in October.

Large discount chains and convenience stores posted a respective 5.9 percent and 7.5 percent growth. Grocery stores also recorded a 3.4 percent growth.

A detailed analysis by Statistics Korea showed that consumption increased by 13.1 percent in items including clothes, shoes, bags and sports-related goods. The agency also said an 8 percent growth was seen in items such as food and beverages, pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics.

Consumption for mobile devices and computers, home appliances and furniture inched up 2 percent on-year.

Private consumption in October also increased by 0.2 percent compared to September.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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