The Korea Herald


Industrial output, retail sales, facility investment lose ground in July

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 31, 2023 - 09:32

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This shows containers stacked at a port in the southeastern city of Busan on August 1. (Yonhap) This shows containers stacked at a port in the southeastern city of Busan on August 1. (Yonhap)

South Korea's industrial output, retail sales and facility investment lost ground from a month earlier amid growing concerns of an economic slowdown, data showed Thursday.

The industrial output fell 0.7 percent in July from a month earlier after standing still in June, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

The three indicators lost ground at the same time for the first time since January.

The output in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries decreased 2 percent due to a slump in the electronic components sector, which fell 11.2 percent.

The output of semiconductors fell 2.3 percent on-month. Shipments fell 31.2 percent, with inventories rising 4 percent over the period, the data showed.

The decrease, however, was limited as the production of apparel advanced 28.5 percent over the period.

The service output added 0.4 percent in July on the back of the information and communication segment. The output from the retail and wholesale sector, however, slid 1.2 percent.

Retail sales, a gauge of private spending, fell 3.2 percent over the period, led by weak demand for durable goods, including automobiles, which dropped 5.1 percent.

The demand for semidurable goods, including clothes, moved down 3.6 percent on-month in July, the data showed.

Facility investment slid 8.9 percent on-month in July, due mainly to the sluggish performance of the transportation equipment and machinery segments.

It was the sharpest decline since the 12.6 percent drop tallied in March 2012.

"The economy appears to be in a sluggish state," an official from the agency said. "Retail sales and facility investment fell by a wide margin amid the weaker sales of automobiles."

The official added that people avoided outdoor activities amid heavy rains during the month, leading to an overall decline in consumer sales.

In a separate report, the Ministry of Economy and Finance attributed the decrease to "temporal factors," such as weather conditions, noting that overall industrial activities remain on a recovery trend.

"The export volume of chips is also showing signs of a rebound, with the service sector continuing its recovery as well," the finance ministry said. The export volume of semiconductors moved up 4 percent on-year in July.

The ministry added it plans to closely monitor any potential impact from China's property market crisis and other global uncertainties. (Yonhap)