In March, industrial production, services production and retail sales increased, while facility investment and construction investment decreased. In April, employment growth dropped, and CPI inflation slowed down.
In March, all industry production rose 1.6 percent month-on-month (up 2.2% y-o-y) as industrial production (up 5.1% m-o-m and down 7.6% y-o-y) and services production (up 0.2% m-o-m and up 6.2% y-o-y) increased from the previous month.
In March, retail sales increased from the previous month (up 0.4% m-o-m and up 0.5% y-o-y), while facility investment (down 2.2% m-o-m and up 2.2% y-o-y) and construction investment (down 3.3% m-o-m and up 15.4% y-o-y) decreased from the previous month.
Exports fell 14.2 percent year-on-year in April, reflecting an overall slump in semiconductors, wireless communications devices, displays and other IT exports. Average daily exports declined 10.4 percent year-on-year to US $2.21 billion in April 2023.
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) rose 3.1 points month-on-month in April to 95.1. The business survey index (BSI) for all industries remained unchanged at 72, and the BSI outlook for May 2023 increased by 1 point to 74.
In March, the cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index rose 0.6 points month-on-month, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index fell 0.3 points.
In April, the economy added 354 thousand jobs year-on-year, and the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 2.8 percent.
In April, consumer prices rose at a slower pace by 3.7 percent year-on-year, the CPI excluding the food and energy sectors rose by 4.0 percent, and the index excluding the agricultural and petroleum products rose by 4.6 percent.
In April, stock prices increased on expectations of an improvement in the IT industry, and Korean Treasury yields and the dollar-won exchange rate rose on worries over a prolonged monetary tightening.
In April, housing price falls slowed down (from down 0.78% to down 0.47% m-o-m), and the falls in Jeonse prices (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) were also slower than the previous month (from down 1.13% to down 0.63% m-o-m).
With the continued easing of inflation in Korea, domestic demand has gradually improved. However, economic growth continued to slow down mainly in the manufacturing industry as indicated by downturns in exports and facility investment.
Global economic uncertainties continue to linger driven by downside risks including financial instability in the vulnerable sectors stemming from monetary tightening policies and concerns about the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war, despite expectations of China’s reopening.
The government will make all-out efforts not only for restructuring the economy but also for strengthening economic cooperation, increasing economic vitality, and boosting exports, investment and domestic demand while stabilizing prices and households’ livelihoods and better managing risks at home and abroad.
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