Retail sales, services and construction rose in March, manufacturing slowing and facility investment staying flat. Job growth gained speed in April and consumer prices rose faster.
Industrial production rose 0.8 percent from the previous month in March backed by strong services (up 1.2%, m-o-m and up 7.8%, y-o-y). Mining and manufacturing slowed (down 0.8%, m-o-m and up 4.7%, y-o-y). Industrial production rose 5.8 percent year on year.
Retail sales (up 2.3%, m-o-m and up 10.9%, y-o-y) and construction investment (up 0.4%, m-o-m and down 5.7%, y-o-y) improved. Facility investment stayed unchanged (up 0%, m-o-m and up 9.3%, y-o-y).
Exports jumped 41.1 percent year-on-year in April backed by strong chips, petrochemicals and other major products. Average daily exports, an indicator calculated according to the days worked, improved 29.4 percent from a year ago (US $1.65 billion, April 2020 >> US $2.13 billion, April 2021).
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) rose 1.7 points month-on-month in April to 102.2. The business sentiment index (BSI) for the manufacturing went up 7 points to 96, and the BSI outlook for May improved 7 points to 98.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index for March rose 0.5 points from a month ago to 100.2, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index increased 0.2 points to 103.1.
The economy added 652,000 jobs year-on-year in April, job growth gaining speed from 314,000 of the previous month. The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points from a year ago to 4.0 percent.
Consumer price inflation went up to 2.3 percent year-on-year in April due to high prices of fresh food and oil, as well as a low base effect. Core inflation rose 1.4 percent.
Stock prices continued to climb in April on expectations of global, as well as local, economic recovery. The won strengthened as the dollar weakened, and Korea Treasury yields went up reflecting high global interest rates.
House prices rose slowly in April (up 0.74% >> up 0.71%, m-o-m), as well as Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices (up 0.46% >> up 0.36%, m-o-m).
The economy saw strong exports trigger manufacturing and investment, the return of close contact services stimulate domestic demand, and employment steadily increase.
While there are growing expectations for economic recovery in major economies with expanded vaccine rollouts and fiscal stimulus, COVID-19 infections have been rising in emerging countries and inflation concerns linger.
The government will work for the economy to keep up the recovery momentum by properly implementing measures to support exports, boost domestic demand and promote job creation, and will also strengthen risk management.
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