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S. Korea's industrial output falls sharply in Feb. on COVID-19 fallout Updated: 2020-03-31 17:08:31 KST

The COVID-19 pandemic is leaving its mark on the South Korean economy.
According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, South Korea's overall industrial output plunged 3.5 percent in February from a month before its largest on-month fall since February 2011.
The agency attributed the drop to reduced production in the service sector and a drop in retail sales because of a change in consumption trends amid the COVID-19 crisis.
In fact, the service sector saw a 3.5 percent drop in production, the deepest fall since 2000.
Disruptions in automobile supply chains also led to a sharp fall in manufacturing production.
Automobile production plummeted almost 28 percent from the month before.
And there was almost a 5-percent drop in facility investment.

"Because of the travel restrictions imposed due to the outbreak, the number of travelers from overseas has also dropped especially Chinese tourists. Duty free spending has dropped significantly."

On top of the depressing economic data, business sentiment in the country also tumbled this month.
The Bank of Korea said on Tuesday that the Business Survey Index for manufacturers was down nine-points on-month to 56 for March.
It's now at a level not seen since the 2008 global financial crisis.
The outlook for April was down 15 points, affected by increasingly pessimistic chipmakers.
The Economic Sentiment Index, which measures economic outlook for both companies and households slumped more than 23 points.

"These figures show that the South Korean economy has not escaped the impact of COVID-19. And with the pandemic now decimating the global economy, experts warn that this is just the beginning, and that the outlook for April is even worse.
Kim Dami, Arirang News."
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