Industrial output slumps

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Industrial output slumps

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A government report offers more evidence that the Sewol ferry tragedy had a negative effect on the national economy in April.

According to Statistics Korea yesterday, overall industrial output dipped 0.5 percent last month compared to March due to lower services and retail spending in the wake of the ferry sinking.

But compared to the same month last year, total production was 1.4 percent higher.

Despite slight increases in the mining, manufacturing and construction industries, the overall economy was swayed by falls in the service and retail sectors that are sensitive to consumer sentiment.

Output in mining and manufacturing rose 0.1 percent last month from a month earlier. Construction production climbed 6.9 percent during the same period.

The report said the output of arts, sports and leisure businesses contracted 11.6 percent, while the food and accommodation industries dwindled 3.2 percent.

Department store sales dropped 5.4 percent in April. Retailers across industries showed an average 6.1 percent decline in sales. Large discount stores fell 0.4 percent.

Facility investment rose 2.6 percent month-on-month, largely owing to increased investment in machinery and automobiles.

Orders of machinery, transportation equipment and automobiles jumped 25.7 percent last year. Construction orders surged 42.2 percent, imbuing some life into the moribund real estate market.

“Although the service industry was directly affected by the ferry disaster, the manufacturing sector kept its growth pace and facility investment showed great improvement,” said the ministry in the report. “The accident’s impact is not spreading across all parts of the economy.”

By song su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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