요약The economy has been improving in 2019 as industrial activities rose in January and economic confidence continued to rise in February. Jobs grew significantly in February compared with the previous month, and consumer prices remained stable.
Industrial production rose in January by 0.8 percent month-on-month due to strong mining and manufacturing (up 0.5%, m-o-m), service output (up 0.9%, m-o-m) and construction completed (up 2.1%, m-o-m).
Consumption and investment improved in January: Retail sales rose (down 0.2% → up 0.2%, m-o-m) as well as facility investment (down 2.6% → up 2.2%, m-o-m) and construction completed (up 2.4% → up 2.1%, m-o-m).
Exports remained weak in February, falling 11.1 percent year-on-year due to weak semiconductors and slowing down global economies, including the Chinese economy.
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) rose for the third consecutive month in February, up 2 points to 99.5, and the business sentiment index (BSI) improved 2 points to 69. The BSI outlook for March jumped 11 points to 76.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index fell in January, as well as the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index, by 0.1points and 0.4points, respectively, compared to a month ago.
The economy added 263,000 jobs in February as service jobs increased and also due to the government’s job creation programs. The unemployment rate went up by 0.1 percentage points due to increased job seekers.
Consumer prices in February rose 0.5 percent compared to a year ago, fresh food prices being stable and oil prices continuing to fall.
In February, KOSPI declined and the won weakened. Treasury bond yields fluctuated.
Housing prices continued to decline in February (down 0.15% → down 0.12%, m-o-m) and Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices continued to fall (down 0.22% → down 0.22%, m-o-m).
There has been a positive momentum into this year backed by improving industrial activities and economic confidence. However, uncertainties linger amid concerns over global economic slowdown, weak semiconductor markets, US-China trade relationship and Brexit.
The government will strengthen its risk management, and will try to find ways to boost the economy and promote inclusiveness. The government will work to successfully implement measures to encourage exporters and ventures, as well as plans to support industrial innovation.