(ATTN: ADDS comments by official, details from para 4)
By Kim Kwang-tae
SEJONG, April 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's industrial output edged up 1.1 percent in March from a month earlier due in part to increased production of semiconductors and the service sector, government data showed Tuesday.
The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed the output of semiconductors rose 3.6 percent in March from a month earlier, while production in the service sector increased 0.2 percent on-month.
Semiconductors are a key export product for South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chip maker, and its smaller rival SK hynix.
Kim Bo-kyoung, director of Statistics Korea's industry statistics division, said the low-base effect in February partly contributed to the increase in industrial output.
"The output of semiconductors increased, but it is too early to say that production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries hit the bottom," she said in a briefing.
Retail sales also rose 3.3 percent in March from a month earlier due in part to increased sales of cosmetics, as well as air purifiers and clothes dryers over fine dust pollution that blanketed South Korea.
Retail sales were the highest in 49 months and gained 2.4 percent on-year last month.
Facility investment also rebounded in March, going up 10 percent on-month on the back of increased imports of airplanes and wireless communications over setting up fifth-generation mobile networks. Facility investment also marked the highest rise in 24 months.
From a year earlier, industrial output fell 0.7 percent.
Gas stations in S. Korea becoming logistics hubs for couriers
BOK's rate cut on the table amid increased downside risks
Tech startups bring changes to conservative construction sector
S. Korea accelerating move to expand FTA territory amid protectionism
BOK faces quandary over call for rate cut