South Korea’s industrial output and consumer and corporate spending rebounded simultaneously in September for the first time in three months, suggesting recovery in domestic and global demand from the protracted coronavirus pandemic.
The seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output in September rose 5.4 percent from a month ago, bouncing back from a 0.3 percent fall in September, Statistics Korea reported Friday. Against a year ago, it jumped 8.0 percent.
Factory operation averaged 73.9 percent in September, up 4.2 percentage points versus the previous month. Inventory levels fell 2.5 percent on month but rose 0.2 percent on year.
Export mainstays drove the latest growth. Auto shipments surged 13.3 percent on month thanks to the release of new models and brisk sales in North America. Chip exports gained 4.8 percent on sustained demand for DRAM and flash memory powering data centers and mobile devices.
The benchmark Kospi fell 0.59 percent to 2,312.86 in Friday morning trading. The Korean won gained 0.19 percent, or 2.20, against the U.S. dollar to 1,132.30.
Services output edged up 0.3 percent in September from the previous month. Retail and wholesale segment added 4.0 percent and logistics and storage 2.7 percent on increased delivery from the stay-at-home trend. Financial and insurance sectors fell 2.4 percent.
Retail sales climbed 1.7 percent, down from the 3.0 percent rise in August but extending the gains for the second straight month. Sales of durable goods like cars fell 0.7 percent, while non-durable goods like food gained 3.1 percent and semi-durable goods like clothes rose 1.5 percent.
Capital investment jumped 7.4 percent, rising by the fastest pace in six months. Spending in machinery fell 1.5 percent but this was offset by a 34.3 percent surge in transportation equipment like vessels.
The coincident index, reflecting current economic activities, rose 0.3 point from a month earlier. The leading indicator, a gauge of where the economy is headed, also climbed 0.4 point, marking the fourth consecutive month of gains in both indicators.
By Kim Hyo-jin
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