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Economic Trends
Current Economic Trends

Industrial and services production as well as construction investment increased while facility investment and retail sales decreased in January 2023. Employment growth rose at a slower pace and CPI inflation slowed down slightly in February. All industry production increased 0.5 percent month-on-month in January 2023 as both industrial production (up 2.9% m-o-m and down 12.7% y-o-y) and services production (up 0.1% m-o-m and up 5.9% y-o-y) rose from the previous month. In January 2023, retail sales decreased 2.1 percent month-on-month (up 0.7% y-o-y) and facility investment fell 1.4 percent month-on-month (down 3.9% y-o-y). Construction investment rose (up 1.8% m-o-m and up 0.9% y-o-y). Exports declined 7.5 percent year-on-year in February, reflecting an overall slump in semiconductors and other IT exports. Average daily exports decreased 15.9 percent year-on-year to US $2.28 billion in February 2023 from US $2.71 billion in February 2022. The consumer sentiment index (CSI) fell 0.5 points month-on-month in February to 90.2. The business survey index (BSI) for all industries remained unchanged at 69, and the BSI outlook for March 2023 climbed by 3 points to 71. In January 2023, both the cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index fell 0.4 points and 0.3 points month-on-month, respectively. The economy added 312 thousand jobs year-on-year in February and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 3.1 percent. Consumer prices rose at a slower pace by 4.8 percent year-on-year in February as petroleum prices and farm and fishery product prices stabilized. Core prices rose 4.8 percent. In February, stock prices decreased, Korean Treasury yields rose, and the won weakened amid the likelihood of prolonged tightening of major economies. Housing price falls slowed down in February (from down 1.49% to down 1.15% m-o-m), and the falls in Jeonse prices (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) were also somewhat slower than the previous month (from down 2.29% to down 1.80% m-o-m). Amid a slight easing of inflation in Korea, economic growth continued to slow down, as indicated by the slowing pace of domestic demand recovery, sluggish exports and weak business sentiment. Global economic uncertainties continue to linger driven by downside risks including financial instability in the vulnerable sectors stemming from monetary tightening policies and concerns about the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war, despite the emergence of some favorable economic factors such as expectations of Chinas reopening. The government will make all-out efforts not only for restructuring the economy with several measures including reforms in the three key sectors (labor, education and social security), but also for increasing energy efficiency, better managing risks at home and abroad, boosting exports and investment, and achieving stable prices, which will mitigate the burdens of inflation on household budgets. * For further details, please refer to the attached file

Apr 2023
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