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Economic Trends
Current Economic Trends
May 2024
In February, industrial production, services production, and facilities investment rose while retail sales and construction dropped. In March, job growth improved while consumer prices growth remained steady.

In February, total production grew (up 1.3% month-on-month and up 2.0% y-o-y), driven by increases in industrial production (up 3.1% m-o-m and up 4.8% y-o-y) and services production (up 0.7% m-o-m and up 1.2% y-o-y) despite a decline in construction production (down 1.9% m-o-m and up 0.5% y-o-y).

In February, retail sales (down 3.1% m-o-m and up 0.9% y-o-y) and construction investment (down 1.9 % m-o-m and up 0.5% y-o-y) decreased while facility investment increased (up 10.3% m-o-m and down 0.3% y-o-y).

In March, exports increased by 3.1 percent from a year ago, driven by increased exports of semiconductors 
and vessels. The daily average of exports increased by 9.9 percent from a year ago.

In March, the Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) fell by 1.2 points from the previous month to 100.7. The Business Survey Index (BSI) increased by 1 point to 69 and the BSI outlook for April decreased by 1 point to 71.

In February, the cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index increased by 0.2 points from the previous month, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index increased by 0.1 point.

In March, the economy added 173,000 jobs compared to the previous year and the unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point from a year ago to 3.0 percent. 

In March, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at a steady pace, increasing by 3.1 percent from the previous year. The index excluding food and energy prices increased by 2.4 percent, and the index excluding agricultural and petroleum products increased by 2.4 percent. The CPI for basic necessities rose by 3.8 percent.

In March, Korean Treasury Bond yields declined amid the ongoing expectations of the interest rate cuts by the US Fed. In addition, stock prices rose on the back of a rebound in semiconductors. The Korean Won weakened against the dollar due to the US economy’s strong performance.

In March, housing prices continued to decline (down 0.12% m-o-m), while Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices rose (up 0.05% m-o-m).

Recently, Korean economic figures show that the moderation in inflation has slowed down, while the economy’s recovery has continued to gain traction mainly driven by increases in manufacturing production and exports, as well as continuing strong job growth. However, the pace of recovery differs across economic sectors amid weak consumption in commodities and sluggish construction sector.

Internationally, the prospects of a soft landing for the global economy remain, driven by expectations of growth in the global manufacturing industry including the IT sector. At the same time, uncertainties linger due to geopolitical risks such as the Russia-Ukraine war and escalating tensions in the Middle East, which have contributed to the volatility in commodity prices. 

Along with concerted efforts to achieve price stability, the government will seek to promote a balanced economic recovery by reviving domestic demand and ensuring that the recovery benefits the everyday lives of Koreans. The government will also seek to carefully manage potential risks and enhance the Korean economy’s dynamism by promoting innovation, fairness, and social mobility. 

* For further details, please refer to the attached file.