Recently, the Korean economy appears to be on an improvement trend with steady growth in exports and a recovery in investment. The production growth of the mining and manufacturing industries appears to be maintaining its recovery trend, while the service industry’s growth rate appears to have slowed down slightly. The growth rate of the mining & manufacturing production index reached 17.8% in November, a huge rise from 0.2% in October. The service activity index rose from the previous month’s 1.3%, recording 3.3%, while the consumer goods index recorded a growth rate of 10.0% in November, similar to the previous month’s 9.8%.
The index of equipment investment registered 10.3%, a sharp increase from the previous month’s 0.5%. Construction-related indicators show that that value of construction completed turned to a rise from decline amid the continued improvement trend in received construction orders. The value of construction completed registered 4.2% growth, up from the previous month’s -5.2%.
The trade account surplus recorded $3.3 billion, a slight decrease from the previous month. Exports showed a 33.7% growth rate, with the increase covering most export items. Imports registered 24.4% growth, showing a continuous rising trend led by consumer goods and raw materials.
The number of hired workers fell by 10,000 in November along with a 0.7% fall in the participation rate of economic activities. The number of unpaid workers showed a -5.7% growth rate, a decrease from the previous month’s -4.9% while the number of paid workers increased 2.5%, up from the previous month’s 2.3%. The Consumer Price Index grew 2.8%, up from the previous month’s 2.4%.
The domestic financial market remained stable in December. Treasury bond yields recorded 4.41% as of late December and the KOSPI index recorded 1682.77, up from the previous month. The KRW/USD exchange rate slightly rose to 1,167.6 won as of the end of December, following the strong dollar trend.