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Economic Trends
The Green Book: Current Economic Trends
May 2019

Overview

Industrial activities improved in March due to a low base effect from the previous month. Employment continued to grow in April, although unemployment went up, and consumer prices stayed stable.

Industrial production rose in March (up 1.1%, m-o-m) as mining and manufacturing (up 1.4%, m-o-m), service output (up 0.2%, m-o-m) and construction completed (up 8.9%, m-o-m) all improved.

Consumption and investment increased in March: Retail sales rose (down 0.5% → up 3.3%, m-o-m) as well as facility investment (down 10.2% → up 10.0%, m-o-m) and construction completed (down 6.5% → up 8.9%, m-o-m).

Exports declined 2.0 percent year-on-year in April, falling for a fifth consecutive month, due to weak global demand as well as low semiconductor prices.

The April consumer sentiment index (CSI) improved 1.8 points to 101.6, a fifth increase in a row, and the business sentiment index (BSI) improved 2 points to 75, the outlook for May climbing 1 point to 77.

The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index fell 0.1 points in March, as well as the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index, to 98.5 and 98.2, respectively.

The economy added 171,000 jobs year-on-year in April: Service jobs continued to increase and a decline in manufacturing jobs slowed. The unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage points to 4.4 percent compared with a year ago.

Consumer prices in April rose 0.6 percent year-on-year as service prices stayed stable, as well as oil product prices.

In April KOSPI went down in the latter half of the month and the won continued to weaken. Treasury bond yields fluctuated.

Housing prices continued to decline in April (down 0.21%, m-o-m), along with Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices (down 0.29%, m-o-m). Housing transactions fell.

The economy over the first quarter of this year had to deal with a slowdown in major indicators as mining and manufacturing, facility investment and exports all declined amid a faster-than-expected global economic slowdown and weak semiconductor markets.

There are uncertainties arising from Brexit in addition to US-China trade tensions, which may lead to increased volatility in the international financial market, as well as a further slowdown in the global economy.

The government will strengthen its risk management and get ready for the spending of the supplementary budget as soon as approved by the National Assembly, and will continue to work to successfully implement the measures drawn up to promote investment, encourage exporters and improve regulations.


* For further details, please refer to the attached file