Korea: Industrial production drops to a five-year low in February
March 30, 2018
Industrial production in the mining, manufacturing, and gas and electricity sectors dropped 6.4% in February compared to the same month last year, contrasting January’s revised 4.3% increase (previously reported: +4.6% year-on-year). February’s reading marked the largest year-on-year decline in five years and came in well below the 3.1% drop that market analysts had expected. The Lunar New Year holiday, which took place in February this year—last year it was in January—resulted in fewer working days and weighed on industrial production. Annual average growth in industrial production decelerated to 1.0% in February (January: 2.2%).
Output in the manufacturing sector swung to a sharp 7.2% drop in February compared to the same month last year, dragging on the month’s headline figure. The average factory capacity utilization rate, meanwhile, edged up to 72.3% in February, from January’s revised 70.3% (previously reported: 70.4%).
A month-on-month comparison adjusted for seasonality shows that industrial production rose 1.1% in February, up from January’s revised 0.9% increase (previously reported: +1.0% month-on-month).
Author: Javier Colato, Economist