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Economic Trends
Current Economic Trends

In February, industrial production, services production, and facilities investment rose while retailsales and construction dropped. In March, job growth improved while consumer prices growthremained steady. In February, total production grew (up 1.3% month-on-month and up 2.0% y-o-y), driven by increases inindustrial production (up 3.1% m-o-m and up 4.8% y-o-y) and services production (up 0.7% m-o-m and up1.2% y-o-y) despite a decline in construction production (down 1.9% m-o-m and up 0.5% y-o-y). In February, retail sales (down 3.1% m-o-m and up 0.9% y-o-y) and construction investment (down 1.9 %m-o-m and up 0.5% y-o-y) decreased while facility investment increased (up 10.3% m-o-m and down0.3% y-o-y). In March, exports increased by 3.1 percent from a year ago, driven by increased exports of semiconductors and vessels. The daily average of exports increased by 9.9 percent from a year ago. In March, the Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) fell by 1.2 points from the previous month to 100.7. The Business Survey Index (BSI) increased by 1 point to 69 and the BSI outlook for April decreased by 1 pointto 71. In February, the cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index increased by 0.2 points from theprevious month, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index increased by 0.1 point. In March, the economy added 173,000 jobs compared to the previous year and the unemployment raterose by 0.1 percentage point from a year ago to 3.0 percent. In March, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at a steady pace, increasing by 3.1 percent from the previousyear. The index excluding food and energy prices increased by 2.4 percent, and the index excludingagricultural and petroleum products increased by 2.4 percent. The CPI for basic necessities rose by 3.8percent. In March, Korean Treasury Bond yields declined amid the ongoing expectations of the interest rate cuts bythe US Fed. In addition, stock prices rose on the back of a rebound in semiconductors. The Korean Wonweakened against the dollar due to the US economys strong performance. In March, housing prices continued to decline (down 0.12% m-o-m), while Jeonse (lump-sum depositswith no monthly payments) prices rose (up 0.05% m-o-m). Recently, Korean economic figures show that the moderation in inflation has slowed down, while theeconomys recovery has continued to gain traction mainly driven by increases in manufacturingproduction and exports, as well as continuing strong job growth. However, the pace of recoverydiffers across economic sectors amid weak consumption in commodities and sluggish constructionsector. Internationally, the prospects of a soft landing for the global economy remain, driven by expectations ofgrowth in the global manufacturing industry including the IT sector. At the same time, uncertainties lingerdue to geopolitical risks such as the Russia-Ukraine war and escalating tensions in the Middle East, whichhave contributed to the volatility in commodity prices. Along with concerted efforts to achieve price stability, the government will seek to promote a balancedeconomic recovery by reviving domestic demand and ensuring that the recovery benefits the everyday livesof Koreans. The government will also seek to carefully manage potential risks and enhance the Koreaneconomys dynamism by promoting innovation, fairness, and social mobility. * For further details, please refer to the attached file.

May 2024
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