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S. Korea's July industrial output growth slowest in 10 months
제목 없음 South Korea's industrial output grew at the slowest pace in 10 months in July amid mounting economic uncertainty at home and abroad, a government report showed Wednesday.

   According to the report by Statistics Korea, production in the mining and manufacturing industries expanded 3.8 percent last month from a year earlier, the slowest pace since September 2010 when it rose 2.9 percent.

   The on-year gain marked the 25th straight month of expansion but it slowed sharply from the previous month's revised 6.5 percent growth. Output also declined 0.4 percent from June, the first time in three months, the report showed.

   "The on-month contraction seems to have been partly caused by a slump in the construction sector," Yoon Jong-won, director general of the finance ministry's economic policy bureau, told Yonhap. "The July numbers provide a somewhat mixed picture with some improving and some others worsening. Uncertainty seems to be mounting."

   Production of vehicles jumped 12 percent on-year thanks to higher demand from home and abroad, while semiconductors and their components saw a 8.4 percent gain over the same period, the report showed.

   The construction sector remained in a slump. Building projects completed in July dropped 13.2 percent from a year earlier. Compared with a month earlier, they also shrank 15.1 percent, the report showed.

   The data comes as South Korea is facing heightened uncertainty caused by external factors, such as the eurozone debt crisis and economic slowdowns in other major economies including the United States.

   Uncertainties in the global economy deepened especially after the unprecedented downgrade of U.S. sovereign debts earlier this month. Last week, Moody's Investors Service also lowered ratings of Japan's debts.

   Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan recently hinted that the government's growth outlook for this year could be revised downward, citing lingering uncertainty. In June, the government lowered its annual growth projection from 5 percent to 4.5 percent.

   The statistics agency's report still painted a relatively bright picture of the economic situation.

   The leading economic composite index, a gauge of economic performance eight to 15 months ahead of time, and the index measuring the current economic conditions both gained ground for the third straight month in July.

   Other figures, however, showed conflicting signals. Retail sales rose 5.3 percent in July from a year earlier but facility investment declined 2.7 percent over the same period.

   The factory operating rate also declined. Manufacturing plants operated at 82.1 percent of capacity last month, down 0.4 percentage point from a month earlier, according to the report.

Source: Yonhap News (August 31, 2011)

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