KDI is seeing green shoots despite more weak figures

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KDI is seeing green shoots despite more weak figures

Korea’s economy remained sluggish in November due to a slump in manufacturing and investment, but the slump showed signs of easing as business confidence improved, a state-run think tank said Thursday.

“The Korean economy is still exhibiting slow growth although some indicators imply that the slowdown is easing,” the Korea Development Institute (KDI) said in its English-language Monthly Economic Trends publication.

“The growth in retail sales and services production ticked up, and leading economic indicators improved in November,” it said.

But weaker facility and construction investment continued to weigh on the Korean economy, it said.

“Facilities investment remained weak in November despite temporary factors such as aircraft investments and the base effect,” the KDI said. “Construction investment remains lackluster, particularly in the building construction sector.”

The economy is expected to grow 2.4 percent this year, following last year’s estimated 2 percent expansion, on an anticipated recovery in the memory chip sector and a series of policy measures.

In a sign that the economic slowdown may have bottomed out, industrial output rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier in November last year, rebounding from a 0.4 percent decline in October, with both retail sales and facility investment growing.

The index of leading indicators grew 0.4 percent in November from a year earlier, compared with a 0.3 percent gain in October, according to the data.

Korea’s exports fell 10.3 percent on year in 2019 to $542.4 billion, according to government data.

For December last year, the monthly exports slipped 5.2 percent on year to $45.7 billion to extend their slump to a whopping 13th consecutive month. But this year’s outbound shipments are forecast to rise 3 percent.

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