THE Korean economy appears to be maintaining its overall improvement trend driven by strong exports and consumption. The growth rate of the mining and manufacturing production index recorded 0.2%, after adjustment for the Chuseok holidays which fell on October this year. The growth rate marked the fourth consecutive month of increase, recording 4.2%.
The production growth rate of the service industry recorded 1.5%, a decrease from the previous month’s record of 4.5%, but still continued to rise for the seventh consecutive month. Sales of consumer goods in October recorded a growth rate of 9.8%, an improvement from the previous month’s 6.6%, led by durable and non-durable goods.
The index of equipment investment registered a month-on-month growth rate of 0.3%, a fall from the previous month (5.0%). The value of construction completed fell with holiday variations, recording -6.5% growth due to fewer working days and weather conditions. The trade surplus in November registered US$4.05 billion, a slight increase from the previous month. Exports registered a year-onyear growth rate of 18.8% while imports registered a growth rate of 4.7% led by consumer and capital goods.
The number of hired workers rose by only 10,000 in October, a small increase compared to the previous month (71,000) with diminishing factors such as reduced employment in the construction industry due to rain. The nominal wage in the third quarter fell for the fourth consecutive quarter, recording -1.2%. The consumer price in November recorded a 2.4% growth rate, a slight increase from the previous month (2.0%), despite a small drop in the growth rate of service price.
The domestic financial market remained stable in November. The KOSPI index fell due to the impact from the Dubai debt crisis late November, but has started to recover recently. Treasury bond yields recorded 4.10% as of late November, while the Won/Dollar exchange rate fell to 1,161.8 at the end of November due to a large surplus in the current account.