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(LEAD) S. Korea's industrial output gains 4.3 pct on-yr in Dec.

All News 09:27 February 01, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more details from 6th para, photos)

SEJONG, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's industrial output rose for the second straight month in December from a year earlier on the back of increased production of semiconductors and machinery, government data showed Wednesday.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries rose 4.3 percent in the last month of 2016 from a year ago, continuing its upward march from a 5.3 percent rise in November, according to the data by Statistics Korea.

From a month earlier, however, the figure edged down 0.5 percent due to a drop in electronics parts and processed metals.

Production in the service sector added 1.7 percent in December from a year earlier, with a 0.3 percent on-month rise.

For all industries, output increased 3.3 percent on-year in December but remained flat from a month earlier, the data showed.

(LEAD) S. Korea's industrial output gains 4.3 pct on-yr in Dec. - 1

The statistics office said the on-year gain in industrial output in December was backed by brisk exports as the country's manufacturing sector is closely linked with outbound shipments.

Asia's fourth-largest economy saw its exports rise 6.4 percent in the final month of 2016, which marked the second consecutive monthly gain helped by rebounding oil prices and recovering world trade.

Output of chips soared 17.6 percent on-year in December and that of machinery jumped 13 percent, while production of cars rose 5.8 percent from a year earlier, following monthslong partial strikes at major companies, including industry leader Hyundai Motor Co.

"The ups and downs of the manufacturing sector largely moved exports," said Eo Woon-sun, director of the short-term industrial statistics division at Statistics Korea. "Beginning in November, we've seen exports experiencing a slight recovery."

The average factory operation rate slipped 0.8 percentage point to 73 percent in December.

Private consumption gained 4.1 percent last month from a year earlier but fell 1.2 percent from the previous month due to decreased demand for clothing and transport fuels stemming from the warm weather and a rise in oil prices.

"On an on-month basis, consumption seems to have slowed down to some extent," said the official from the statistics agency. "But it still maintains a modest year-on-year growth."

A seasonally adjusted index of retail sales reached 119.9 in December, falling from the second-best number of 121.4 tallied in November.

Facility investment added 10 percent on-year in December, with a 3.4 percent on-month gain, while a recent boom in the real estate market led to a 12.8 percent on-year gain in completed construction.

(LEAD) S. Korea's industrial output gains 4.3 pct on-yr in Dec. - 2

For all of 2016, meanwhile, industrial output rose 3.1 percent from a year earlier, marking the largest on-year gain since 2011, when it added 3.3 percent.

Its average factory operation rate lost 1.9 percentage points to 72.4 percent, the lowest level since 1998 in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.

Retail sales rose 4.1 percent on-year, while facility investment dropped 1.3 percent last year.


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