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(LEAD) Factory output posts sharpest drop in over decade in April amid virus pandemic

All News 09:03 May 29, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS remarks, details in last 6 paras)

SEJONG, May 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's factory output plunged by the most in more than a decade in April from a month earlier, as the coronavirus pandemic hit exports, data showed Friday.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries plunged 6 percent, marking the sharpest decline since December 2008, according to data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The country's overall industrial production also fell 2.5 percent in April.

In March, the nation's overall industrial output fell 0.3 percent on-month, marking the sharpest decline since February 2011.

Retail sales rose 5.3 percent in April from a month earlier as the nation eased strict social distancing rules, and the output in the service sector gained 0.5 percent on-month.

Asia's fourth-largest economy shrank 1.4 percent on-quarter in the first quarter of this year, the sharpest quarterly contraction since the last three months of 2008.

Exports sank 20.3 percent on-year in the first 20 days of May amid the shock from the coronavirus pandemic.

(LEAD) Factory output posts sharpest drop in over decade in April amid virus pandemic - 1

Production of chips dropped 12.6 percent on-month, the data showed.

Local manufacturers have been facing hurdles in securing key parts as suppliers around the globe suspended their operations amid the pandemic, with global shipments of goods also being disrupted by entry bans.

Facility investment gained 5 percent on month in April, marking the second straight monthly increase, the data showed.

Ahn Hyung-joon, a senior official at Statistics Korea, told reporters that auto sales rose in April as the nation extended tax cuts on car buyers to increase consumption.

Sales of durable goods, such as cars, gained 4.1 percent and those of nondurable ones, such as cosmetics, rose 1.6 percent, the data showed.

The so-called cyclical component of the composite leading index, which predicts the turning point in business cycles, fell by 1.3 point on-month, marking the sharpest decline since March 1998.


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