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Economic Trends
Current Economic Trends

In January, services production, retail sales, and construction investment increased while industrialproduction and facilities investment dropped. In February, job growth improved while consumerprices rose at a faster pace. In January, total production grew (up 0.4% month-on-month and up 7.3% y-o-y) driven by increases inservices production (up 0.1% m-o-m and up 4.4% y-o-y) and construction production (up 12.4% m-o-mand up 17.6% y-o-y) despite a decline in industrial production (down 1.3% m-o-m and up 12.9% y-o-y). In January, retail sales increased 0.8% m-o-m and 3.4% y-o-y and construction investment increased12.4% m-o-m and 17.6% y-o-y. Facility investment decreased 5.6% m-o-m and 4.1% y-o-y. In February, exports increased by 4.8 percent from a year ago, driven by increased exports ofsemiconductors and ships. The daily average of exports increased by 12.5 percent from a year ago. In February, the Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) rose by 0.3 points from the previous month to 101.9. TheBusiness Survey Index (BSI) decreased 1 point to 68 and the BSI outlook for March increased by 3 points to72. In January, the cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index increased by 0.1 points from theprevious month, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index remained steady. In February, the economy added 329,000 jobs compared to the previous year and the unemployment raterose by 0.1 percentage point from a year ago to 3.2 percent. In January, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at a faster pace, increasing by 3.1 percent from theprevious year. The index excluding food and energy prices increased by 2.5 percent, and the index excludingagricultural and petroleum products increased by 2.6 percent. The CPI for basic necessities rose by 3.7percent. In February, Korean Treasury Bond yields rose owing to the weakening expectation for an early interest ratecut by the US Fed. The Korean equity market was up for the month due to the anticipation for a rebound inthe IT industry and corporate value enhancement. In February, housing prices continued to decline (down 0.14% m-o-m), while Jeonse (lump-sum depositswith no monthly payments) prices rose (up 0.03% m-o-m). Recently, inflation slowdown has been moderated, while the Korean economys recovery continuedto gain traction mainly driven by increases in manufacturing production and exports, and job growthremains strong. However, the pace of recovery differs across economic sectors amid weak privateconsumption and sluggish construction investment. Internationally, the prospects of a soft landing for the global economy continue along with expectations ofgrowth in the global IT industry. At the same time, the risk of instability stemming from geopolitical eventsand the global supply chain linger amid conflicts in the Middle East and Russia-Ukraine. Along with a concerted effort to achieve the firm anchoring of price stability, the government will focus onrestoring a balanced recovery by expanding economic recovery momentum into vulnerable areas inpeoples lives and domestic consumption. In addition, strengthened endeavors will be made to promptlycarry out follow-up measures on key policy tasks that were voiced in the town hall meetings. Policy focuswill also be placed on meticulously managing potential risks and enhancing the dynamism of the Korean economy.

Apr 2024
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