The Korea Herald


Industrial output falls by most in 4 years in March

By Yonhap

Published : April 30, 2024 - 08:48

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People shop at a major discount store in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap) People shop at a major discount store in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's industrial output logged the sharpest fall in about four years after four months of monthly gains in March on falling manufacturing production, data showed Tuesday.

Retail sales, however, rebounded on rising demand for food and vehicles, among other items, amid concerns about weak domestic demand, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Industrial output declined 2.1 percent in March from a month earlier, the first fall since October,

It also marked the sharpest fall since February 2020 when the figure fell 3.2 percent on-month.

Output in the overall mining and manufacturing sector went down 3.2 percent on falling production of semiconductors, cars and other items.

Output in the service sector also inched down 0.8 percent on-month in March.

"The decline was largely due to a high base effect," an agency official said, noting that industrial production has advanced for the fifth consecutive quarter in the first quarter on the back of the recovery of exports.

Compared with a year earlier, industrial output inched up 0.2 percent, with that of semiconductors surging 30.3 percent, the data showed.

Facility investment sank 6.6 percent in March from the previous month, the largest fall in eight months.

Construction investment also shed 8.7 percent on-month, the data showed.

Retail sales, a gauge of private spending, however, added 1.6 percent on-month in March, rebounding from a 3 percent decline a month earlier.

The rise was on the back of growing sales of food, cosmetics and vehicles, among other items.

On an on-year basis, however, retail sales shed 2.7 percent.

"We expect retail sales to rise in May thanks to a growing number of travelers from overseas and rising consumption during the 'family month.' The government will strive to curb inflation and boost investment to promote an economic recovery and better support the people's livelihoods," the finance ministry said in a release. (Yonhap)