- The Green Book: Current Economic Trends
Indicators showing industrial production and consumption declined in February.
Industrial production fell 3.5 percent from the previous month in February. Mining and manufacturing went down (down 3.8%, m-o-m and up 11.4%, y-o-y), as well as service output (down 3.5%, m-o-m and up 1.2%, y-o-y). Industrial production rose 4.9 percent year on year.
Retail sales (down 6.0%, m-o-m and down 2.3%, y-o-y) and facilities investment (down 4.8%, m-o-m and up 15.6%, y-o-y) went down from the previous month in February, as well as construction investment (down 3.4%, m-o-m and up 5.6%, y-o-y).
Exports, after going up 4.3 percent in the previous month, fell 0.2 percent year-on-year in March due to low prices triggered by falling oil prices, despite more days worked (1.5 days). Average daily exports, an indicator calculated according to the days worked, fell (US $2.09 billion (Mar 2019) → US $1.95 billion (Mar 2020)).
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) plummeted, dropping 18.5 points in March to 78.4. The business sentiment index (BSI) for the manufacturing sector fell 9 points to 56, and the BSI outlook for April plunged 15 points to 54.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index for February fell 0.7 points to 99.8, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index stayed flat at 100.3.
The economy lost 195,000 jobs year-on-year in March due to the weak service sector. The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points from a year ago to 4.2 percent.
Consumer prices rose 1.0 percent year-on-year in March. Fresh food prices rose faster and petroleum product prices grew slower. Core inflation rose 0.7 percent.
KOSPI plunged in March, the won weakening somewhat. Short-term Korea treasury yields declined and the long-term yields rose.
Housing prices continued to rise in March (up 0.34% → up 0.54%, m-o-m), and Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices grew at a slower pace (up 0.21% → up 0.19%, m-o-m).
The economy has seen domestic demand declining and employment falling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Uncertainties have been mounting in global trade, overshadowing the country’s exports.
While the financial market volatility has been easing helped by market stability efforts in many countries, real economies of major countries are contracting and concerns are growing over global recession.
The government will work on the fast implementation of the 150 trillion won relief measures drawn up through the Emergency Economic Council Meeting, and will continue to work on measures to help retain jobs and boost the real economy.
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