Mining & manufacturing and services rose in March while retail sales, facility investment and construction investment declined. Employment continued to increase in April and consumer prices rose at a faster pace.
Industrial production rose 1.5 percent month-on-month in March as mining & manufacturing (up 1.3%, m-o-m and up 3.7%, y-o-y) and services (up 1.5%, m-o-m and up 3.7%, y-o-y) increased.
Retail sales (down 0.5%, m-o-m and up 2.3%, y-o-y), facility investment (down 2.9%, m-o-m and down 6.0%, y-o-y) and construction investment (down 0.3%, m-o-m and down 7.3%, y-o-y) all decreased in March.
Exports rose 12.6 percent year-on-year in April due to strong exports of semiconductors and petroleum products. Average daily exports increased 15.0 percent year-on-year to US $2.45 billion in April 2022 from US $2.13 billion in April 2021.
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) grew 0.6 points month-on-month in April to 103.8. The business survey index (BSI) for the manufacturing sector also went up 3 points to 87, and the BSI outlook for May 2022 rose 3 points to 88.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index for March dropped 0.2 points and 0.3 points, respectively.
The economy added 865,000 jobs year-on-year in April and the unemployment rate fell 1.0 percentage points year-on-year to 3.0 percent.
Consumer prices grew 4.8 percent year-on-year in April due to the continued increase in oil prices and core prices rose 3.6 percent.
Stock prices decreased in April out of concerns for the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike, the Russia-Ukraine war and global inflation while the won weakened and Korea Treasury yields picked up.
Housing price growth eased in March (up 0.03% → up 0.02%, m-o-m), and prices of Jeonse (lumpsum deposits with no monthly payments) declined (up 0.00% → down 0.02%, m-o-m).
While consumption is expected to pick up due to continued recovery of employment and lift of social distancing restrictions, concerns remain that the longer-than-expected Russia-Ukraine war and the resulting supply chain disruptions could undermine investment, restrict export recovery, and continue to lead to high inflation.
Internationally, amid higher inflationary pressure caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, major economies making a swift transition of monetary policies and prolonged lockdown measures in China have expanded financial market volatility and economic downside risks across the world.
The government will make its utmost effort to improve people’s livelihoods especially by executing the second supplementary budget in a timely manner to alleviate inflationary pressure and support small businesses hit hard by the pandemic while managing risks and attaining macroeconomic stability at home and abroad.
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