Korea's industrial output sees biggest drop in 6 months
It was a reminder that the country's still feeble economic recovery could be derailed by an unforeseen shock.
Statistics Korea said Wednesday that the nation's industrial output dropped 2.1 percent in September from the previous month -- the sharpest pace of contraction in six months.
The drop was a reversal from a 1.6 percent rise in August.
The statistics agency, however, attributed the fall to partial strikes by unionized workers at local automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, and added that without that factor, the nation's industrial output would have expanded for the month of September as well.
Economists agree that the drop in output does not indicate a major setback for the Korean economy.
"Overall, the numbers show that the Korean economy is on the path to recovery after sluggish growth over the past two years. But it's still hard to say the recovery is at full strength."
The output of services sector that is driven by domestic demand kept improving last month, gaining by 0.3 percent from August.
Despite the worse-than-expected output data, the central bank said last week that the nation's gross domestic product grew 3.3 percent in the July-to-September period from a year earlier -- the first time it has topped three percent since the end of 2011.
"On a brighter note, a central bank survey showed Wednesday that Korean manufacturers' confidence rose to a 16-month high in October, based on their assessment of the business outlook for the coming months.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News."
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