S. Korea’s industrial output fall hits 1.5-year high in October

South Korea’s industrial output logged the fastest fall in one and a half years last month due to the Covid-19 pandemic, statistical office data showed on Tuesday.

The seasonally-adjusted production in all industries, which exclude the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors, stood at 110.8 in October, down 1.9 per cent from the previous month, according to Statistics Korea.

It marked the fastest slide in 18 months since April last year as the continued Covid resurgence weighed down on industrial activity, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the latest tally, the country reported 3,032 more cases of Covid for the past 24 hours, lifting the total number of infections to 447,230. The daily caseload hovered above 3,000 for seven days.

The daily number of Covid cases rose above 3,000 this month as the government launched the so-called “Living with Covid-19” guideline to alleviate anti-virus measures following the country’s full vaccination rate surpassing 70 per cent.

The industrial production retreated 0.7 per cent in July and 0.1 per cent in August, before rebounding 1.1 per cent in September.

Output in the mining and manufacturing industry reduced 3.0 per cent in October from a month earlier, posting the highest decline in 17 months since May last year.

Production among manufacturers went down 3.1 per cent in October on a monthly basis, continuing to skid for the fourth consecutive month.

Automotive production dropped 5.1 per cent on the supply disruption of semiconductors used to manufacture cars, and the primary metal output tumbled 5.9 per cent on the back of the global supply disruption.

Output in the services industry shrank 0.3 per cent in October, after growing 1.4 per cent in September.

Production in the eatery and lodging sector expanded 4.5 per cent in October from a month ago, but output in the finance and insurance segment diminished 2.1 per cent.

Production in the public administration sector plunged 8.9 per cent last month, logging the fastest slide since March 2013. Output in the construction industry declined 1.3 per cent.

The retail sale index, which reflects private consumption, rose 0.2 per cent from a month earlier to 121.5 in October, keeping an upward trend for the second straight month.

The sale of non-durable goods, such as cosmetics, slipped 2.1 per cent, but the sale of semi-durable goods advanced 2.8 per cent on demand for winter clothing and outdoor clothes.

Durable goods sale gained 2.2 per cent on higher demand for heating products.

Facility investment slumped 5.4 per cent in October on a monthly basis due to the reduced investment in machinery and transport equipment. Completed construction fell 1.3 per cent last month.

The cyclical variation factor for leading economic indicators, which gauges outlook for the future economic situation, declined 0.5 points over the month to 101.6 in October, keeping a downward trend for four straight months.

The reading for coincident economic indicators, which measure the current economic conditions, shrank 0.2 points to 101.0 in the month.

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