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Industrial output gains 1.7 pct on-yr in Jan.
According to Yonhap News,

(SEJONG=Yonhap News) South Korea's industrial output rose for three months in a row in January on a continued recovery of exports, government data showed Thursday.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries moved up 1.7 percent in January from a year earlier, continuing its upward march from a 4.2 percent gain in December and a 5.3 percent rise in November, according to the data by Statistics Korea.

From a month earlier, the figure also rose 3.3 percent on a gain in chips and electronics parts, rebounding from a 0.5 percent on-month fall in December.

Production in the service sector added 2.7 percent in the first month of 2017 from a year earlier, with a 0.5 percent on-month rise.

Retail sales advanced 4 percent on-year in January, but they fell 2.2 percent from a month earlier, marking the third consecutive on-month drop for the first time since December 2008.

For all industries, output increased 3.6 percent on-year in January and edged up 1 percent from a month earlier, the data showed.

The statistics office said the country's brisk exports led the on-year and on-month gain in industrial output in January, as the country's manufacturing sector is closely linked with outbound shipments.

Asia's fourth-largest economy saw its exports expand for four straight months on the back of rising oil prices and demand from emerging markets.

Output of chips surged 35 percent on-year in January and that of machinery jumped 10 percent, while car production fell 8.8 percent from a year ago.

"As exports are showing clear signs of recovery, industrial output is also riding on an upside cycle," said Eo Woon-sun, director of the short-term industrial statistics division at Statistics Korea. "Expanding demand for semiconductors spearheaded an increase in machinery production and in facility investment."

The average factory operation rate gained 1.7 percentage points to 74.3 percent in January.

On the demand side, however, private consumption has been continuing its downside mode for recent months due to the diminished effect of the government-led consumption-boosting measures.

Last year, the South Korean government ran an excise tax-cut program on cars and held nationwide shopping promotion events to stimulate consumer sentiment. But retail sales started to go down in the fourth quarter of last year amid rising uncertainties at home and abroad stemming from the recent political turmoil and a protracted economic slump.

"Domestic demand was very good last year because of the government's policies," said the official from the statistics agency. "Consumption is now slowing down to some extent."

Facility investment added 11.4 percent on-year in January, with a 2.6 percent on-month gain, while a recent boom in the real estate market led to a 14.4 percent on-year gain in completed construction.

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Source: Yonhap News (Mar. 2, 2017)

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