Korea's industrial output last month dismissed worries that the nation's economy might not be recovering as many had hoped.
Statistics Korea said Wednesday the output rose across all industries except for the construction sector in March.
Production in the mining, manufacturing and gas industries rose 0.9 percent last month from February, following two straight months of decline.
The agency said the gain was led by strong exports of automobiles and semiconductors.
More importantly, retail sales and the service industry rebounded, stoking hopes that lackluster domestic demand is finally picking up.
Retail sales went up more than one-and-a-half percent last month, while service sector production also edged up 0.1 percent.
Further brightening the economic outlook, facilities investment also bounced back, confirming that businesses expect growing demand in coming months.
Although the central bank has cautioned that the sunken Sewol-ho ferry disaster might hurt consumer sentiment, Nomura Securities believes the disaster will have a limited impact on the economy.
The Japanese brokerage firm said private spending could drop in April but will likely recover soon.
It also kept its growth forecast for Asia's fourth-largest economy for this year unchanged at four percent.
The nation's overall industrial output rose slightly by 0.4 percent in March after a 1.3 percent fall in the previous month.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.
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