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(2nd LD) S. Korea's industrial output falls 0.6 pct in June

SEJONG, July 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's industrial output fell in June from a month earlier, hit by weaker capital investment and export growth, government data showed Tuesday.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries declined 0.6 percent on-month in June, following an adjusted 1.2 percent on-month gain in the previous month, according to the data by Statistics Korea.

From a year earlier, industrial output fell 0.4 percent, following a 1.2 percent on-year rise in May.

Production in the service sector rose 0.2 percent on-month, with a 1.7 percent on-year gain.

Retail sales rose 0.6 percent on-month in June, compared with a 1.1 percent on-month decline in May.

Facility investment continued to decline, contracting 5.9 percent on-month, following a 3 percent on-month drop the previous month.

For all industries, production fell 0.7 percent on-month, following an adjusted 0.2 percent on-month rise in the previous month. On a yearly basis, industrial production was unchanged, the data showed.

Production of vehicles declined 7.3 percent in June from a month earlier, while the chipmaking sector saw its output rise 11.2 percent.

Its average factory operation rate stood at 73.5 percent in June, down 0.5 percentage point from May.

The statistics office said it is too early to determine if South Korea's economy is losing steam. There has been some controversy over whether the economy is starting on a downward path.

A government official said overall facility investment is unlikely to take a sharp turn for the worse as chipmakers continue to expand their plants.

The government said a recovery in the global economy, eased geopolitical risks and the implementation of an extra budget will help the economy chug along going forward, although there are some downside risks, such as the normalization of monetary easing in major economies and additional interest rate hikes in the United States.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018 10:19