South Korea's overall industrial production continued its upward trend for the second consecutive month in March, thanks to increased production in the service sector.
According to Statistics Korea on Friday, the overall industrial output was up point-8 percent in March, compared to the previous month.
Industrial production declined by half-a-percent in January, then rebounded 2.1 percent in February, before increasing for the second time last month.
This was mainly due to strong production in the service sector, which offset dwindling production in both mining and manufacturing.
Production in the service industry was up 1.2 percent on-month, rising for a second month in a row, and marking the largest gain since June 2020.
"The sluggishness we've seen in the service industry has eased a lot, with relaxed social distancing and increased activity during the warmer weather. Production in the service industry increasing for two straight months contributed to growth in overall production."
Retail sales, a measure of consumption, also increased by the largest margin in 7 months, signaling a stronger recovery.
It was up 2.3 percent compared to the previous month, thanks to a rise in sales of clothing and cosmetics.
But one expert notes it's uncertain whether this rising trend will continue.
"Consumption tends to increase in March due to seasonal factors. And the current recovery in consumption is due to partial improvements, from increased demand for semi-durable products like clothing and cosmetics. It's uncertain whether this growth trend in consumption will continue."
He added uncertainty remains due to various factors, such as the spread of COVID-19 variants and speed of vaccine rollouts.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.