Economic Bulletin March 2020
The Green Book: Current Economic Trends
Service output and construction investment increased in January 2020. Mining and
manufacturing slowed, as well as facilities investment and retail sales.
Industrial production rose slightly by 0.1 percent from the previous month in January. Services
improved (up 0.4%, m-o-m and up 0.7%, y-o-y), and mining and manufacturing fell (down 1.3%,
m-o-m and down 2.4%, y-o-y). Industrial production dropped 0.5 percent year on year.
Retail sales (down 3.1%, m-o-m and up 1.8%, y-o-y) and facilities investment (down 6.6%,
m-o-m and down 3.8%, y-o-y) went down from the previous month in January. Construction
investment improved (up 3.3%, m-o-m and down 4.8%, y-o-y).
Exports improved in February, going up 4.5 percent year-on-year due to more days worked
(3.5 days). Average daily exports, an indicator calculated according to the days worked, fell
(US $2.08 billion (Feb 2019) → US $1.83 billion (Feb 2020).
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) dropped 7.3 points in February to 96.9. The business
sentiment index (BSI) for the manufacturing sector plummeted, falling 11 points to 65, and
the BSI outlook for March went down 8 points to 69.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index in January rose 0.3 points to 100.5,
and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index rose 0.1 points to 100.3.
The economy added 492,000 jobs year-on-year in February backed by the service sector.
The unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage points from a year ago to 4.1 percent.
Consumer prices rose 1.1 percent year-on-year in February. Fresh food prices and personal
service costs grew slowly, and petroleum prices continued to rise. Core inflation rose 0.6 percent.
KOSPI fell in February, Korea treasury yields declining. The won stayed unstable.
Housing prices continued to rise in February (up 0.28% → up 0.34%, m-o-m), and Jeonse
(lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices grew at a slower pace (up 0.28% →
up 0.21%, m-o-m).
The economy has seen confidence undermined and activities suspended amid the
COVID-19 outbreak. Uncertainties have been growing in the real economy, as well as
in the financial market.
Uncertainties are growing in the global economy, too. The global economic growth outlook,
as well as outlooks for major economies, has been revised down, and volatility has been
increasing in commodities markets and financial markets.
The government will continue to work to effectively control the disease and provide support
for businesses affected. The government will work to make the 2020 supplementary budget
ready for spending as soon as it is passed at the National Assembly. The government will
stay vigilant about the impact of the outbreak on the real economy and the macroeconomic
situation, and will be prepared for appropriate responses.
Economic News Briefing
- Korea grows 2.0% in 2019
- Korea to provide financial support worth over 100 trillion won to buttress the economy
- Extra spending worth 10.9 trillion won passed to combat COVID 19
- Korean FDI, full year and Q4 2019
- 8th year of Korea-US FTA: Trade amounts to US $135.2 billion in 2019
* For full text, please open the attached PDF file.