Industrial output in South Korea reduced due to weak exports caused by cold weather in the United States, a government report showed Friday.
Production in all industries, including manufacturing, service, construction and public administration sectors, shed 1.2 percent on month in February after growing 1.1 percent in the prior month, according to Statistics Korea.
Output in the mining and manufacturing industries decreased 1.8 percent in February from a month earlier, falling for two straight months. It was the first time since March last year that the production slid for the second straight month.
Production in the construction industry shrank 3.6 percent on month in February, with those in the service and public administration sectors sliding 0.4 percent and 1.6 percent respectively.
The Finance Ministry said in a statement that industrial activity in February was lackluster due to sluggish exports stemming from cold weather in the U.S., South Korea's major trading partner, and faltering domestic consumption.
Exports, which account for around half of the economy, increased 1.6 percent in February from a year ago. It was a rebound from a 0.2 percent fall in January, but the rebound was slight given the rise in working days due to the move of the Lunar New Year's holiday to January this year from February last year.
The ministry, however, noted that the country's industrial activities kept its recovery trend for the first two months of this year compared with the fourth quarter of last year, saying the March figure would rebound given launches of new cars and mobile phones as well as the expected expansion in exports.
The cyclical component of leading economic indicators declined 0.1 point on month to 101.5 in February, and the figure for coincident economic indicators slid 0.1 point to 100.6 last month.
Production among carmakers tumbled 7.2 percent, but those in the electric equipment expanded 5.8 percent last month. Output in the chips and parts industry plunged 4.9 percent, but those in the clothing sector jumped 14.9 percent.
Manufacturers operated at an average capacity of 76.2 percent in February, down 2.1 percentage points from the prior month.
Shipments in the manufacturing industry retreated 0.8 percent on month in February, but inventories advanced 0.6 percent last month. The ratio of inventory to shipment rose 1.8 percentage points to 120.5 percent last month.
The service industry output fell 0.4 percent on month in February after expanding 0.7 percent in the prior month. Activities in the real estate sector climbed 3.1 percent, but those for wholesale & retail sector and lodging & restaurant industry declined 1.2 percent and 4.7 percent respectively.
Retail sales dropped 3.2 percent due to weaker demand for non- durable goods after growing 2.2 percent in the previous month.
Facility investment decreased 0.3 percent last month, but it was a slower contraction compared with January when the capital spending tumbled 4.7 percent. Investment in the transport equipment sector sank 9 percent, but those in the machinery industry rebounded 3.1 percent.
Machinery orders increased 7 percent in February from a month earlier after rising 3.9 percent a month earlier.
The value of construction completed at a constant price declined 3.6 percent last month, but construction orders received at a current price jumped 10 percent after increasing 4.2 percent the prior month.