Mining and manufacturing production, retail sales and facility investment rose in December 2020, compared to the previous month. Services output fell as well as construction investment.
Industrial production increased 0.5 percent month-on-month in December. Services output declined (down 1.1%, m-o-m and down 2.2%, y-o-y), and mining and manufacturing rose (up 3.7%, m-o-m and up 3.4%, y-o-y). Industrial production fell 0.3 percent year-on-year.
Retail sales increased 0.2 percent month-on-month and fell 2.0 percent year-on-year. Facility investment increased (up 0.9%, m-o-m and up 5.3%, y-o-y), while construction investment declined (down 0.9%, m-o-m and down 2.5%, y-o-y).
Exports rose 11.4 percent year-on-year in January 2021, led by the rising IT sector and more days worked (1 day). Average daily exports, an indicator calculated according to the days worked, jumped 6.5 percent from a year ago (US $2.00 billion in Jan 2020 >> US $2.13 billion in Jan 2021).
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) went up 4.2 points month-on-month in January 2021 to 95.4. The business sentiment index (BSI) for the manufacturing sector rose 3 points to 85, and the BSI outlook for February 2021 rose 4 points to 81.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index for December stayed flat from a month ago at 98.9, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index rose 0.5 points to 103.0.
The economy lost 982,000 jobs year-on-year in January 2021, and the unemployment rate rose 1.6 percentage points from a year ago to 5.7 percent.
Consumer prices went up 0.6 percent from a year ago in January 2021, and core inflation rose 0.9 percent.
KOSPI rose in January 2021 due to expectations of economic recovery and the strong dollar. The won weakened, and Korea treasury yields, especially long-term bond yields, went up in line with rising global market interest rates.
Home prices rose at a slower rate in January 2021 (up 0.90% >> up 0.79%, m-o-m), as well as Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices (up 0.97% >> up 0.71%, m-o-m).
The economy has seen both manufacturing and investment improving thanks to recovery in exports, but uncertainties remain in the real economy. Domestic demand contracted further, led by in-person services, and employment has slowed down due to a third wave of COVID-19 and strengthened social distancing rules that follow.
Real economic indicators have been somewhat weakening in major economies since the fourth quarter of last year, affected by the resurging virus. However, the slowing spread of the coronavirus, expansion of vaccinations and the implementation of large-scale stimulus packages in major economies have raised expectations for economic recovery.
The government will push ahead with measures to eliminate policy blind spots and provide additional support to those damaged by prolonged COVID-19, and will also prepare plans to stabilize the labor market.
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