South Korea's industrial output in the first quarter of this year has hit an all-time high, even surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
Statistics Korea said on Monday that the nation's overall industrial production index came at 111.2 for the first three months of 2021, up 1.7 from the previous quarter.
Industrial production had declined in the first quarter of 2020 to 1-hundred-7.9 due to the pandemic, and fell further in the second quarter.
But it started picking up again from the third quarter,.. fully recovering by Q1 this year.
The surge was largely driven by improvements in the mining and manufacturing sector, which saw record growth of 113.9continuing its upward trend for the third quarter in a row.
Manufacturing hit its highest level since records began in 1980, on the back of robust exports of chips and automobiles.
"The recent industrial output growth has been largely attributed to the global economic recovery which led to the improvement in exports, especially chips. But in-person consumption continues to drag down the overall growth due to the pandemic."
While the service sector, which was hardest hit by the pandemic, is yet to fully bounce back, it has seen three consecutive quarters of growth.
Retail sales, a barometer for consumer demand, have been steadily growing over the past two quarters, and facility investment has been on the rise for the last four quarters.
While there is a clear trend showing economic recovery, the government remains cautious amid concerns over the recent resurgence of the pandemic.
Kim Sung-min, Arirang News.