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Economic Trends
The Green Book: Current Economic Trends

Overview The Korean economy has been recovering backed by strong exports amid recovering global economies, but domestic demand has yet to gain recovery momentum as consumption remains sluggish. The economy added 212,000 jobs year-on-year in August, a decrease from 313,000 in the previous month, due to a high base effect from a year ago when more than 390,000 jobs were created, as well as due to bad weather. Consumer prices in September rose at a slower rate compared with the previous month (up 2.6% up 2.1%, y-o-y) due to stabilizing agricultural product prices. Mining and manufacturing production rose for the second month in a row in August (up 1.7% up 0.4%, m-o-m) backed by strong semiconductors and electronic parts, and service output rose for the third consecutive month (up 0.6% up 0.1%, m-o-m) as healthcare and professional services improved. Retail sales declined in August (up 0.1% down 0.1%, m-o-m) after growing for three straight months as durable goods sales declined due to a low base effect from the previous month when home electronics sales surged amid unusually hot weather, as well as due to slowing smartphone sales ahead of new model release. Facility investment continued to fall in August (down 5.1% down 0.3%, m-o-m) after a surge in semiconductor manufacturing equipment investment made last June. Year-on-year, facility investment has risen for 10 consecutive months. Construction investment declined (up 3.0% down 2.0%, m-o-m) as civil engineering works stalled amid frequent spells of rain. Construction investment rose 8.1 percent compared with a year ago. In August, the cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index rose 0.1 points from the previous month to 100.8, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index stayed unchanged at 101.8. Exports increased for the 11th consecutive month in September (up 17.3% up 35.0%, y-o-y), reaching a record high of US $55.13 billion, backed by strong major export items, such as semiconductors, steel and automobiles, as well as due to more days worked. In September, KOSPI increased in line with rising global stock markets, and the dollar-won exchange rate rose amid the strong dollar and growing North-related risks. Government bond yields increased. Housing price growth slowed in September (up 0.25% up 0.12%, m-o-m) as Seoul metropolitan area markets stabilized, and Jeonse (lump sum deposits with no monthly payments) price growth also slowed (up 0.08% up 0.06%, m-o-m). The economy is expected to stay on a recovery path given strong exports and supplementary budget implementation. However, job growth has slowed down, and internal and external risks linger, such as trade issues, strikes in the auto industry and North related problems. The government will strengthen its risk management, and will work to help create decent jobs and boost the real economy by successfully carrying out the new administrations economic policies and implementing supplementary budgets as planned. * For further details, please refer to the attached file

Oct 2017
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