Economic Bulletin October 2020
The Green Book: Current Economic Trends
Retail sales increased in August, but manufacturing and services output fell, as well as
facilities investment and construction investment.
Industrial production fell 0.9 percent from the previous month in August. Mining and
manufacturing declined (down 0.7%, m-o-m and down 3.0%, y-o-y), as well as services
output (down 1.0%, m-o-m and down 3.7%, y-o-y). Industrial production decreased 3.4
percent year on year.
Retail sales (up 3.0%, m-o-m and up 0.3%, y-o-y) improved. Facilities investment (down
4.4%, m-o-m and down 1.8%, y-o-y) and completed construction works (down 7.1%,
m-o-m and down 9.4%, y-o-y) dropped.
Exports rose 7.6 percent year-on-year in September, improving for the first time in seven
months, backed by more days worked (2.5 days). Average daily exports, an indicator
calculated according to the days worked, fell from a year ago (US $2.18 billion (September
2019) → US $2.09 billion (September 2020)).
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) dropped 8.8 points in September to 79.4. The business
sentiment index (BSI) for the manufacturing sector rose 2 points to 68, and the BSI outlook
for October stayed flat at 68.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index for August increased 0.4 points to
97.6, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index improved 0.6 points to 100.9.
The economy lost 392,000 jobs year-on-year in September as manufacturing jobs and
services jobs declined. The unemployment rate rose 0.5 percentage points from a year
ago to 3.6 percent.
Consumer prices rose 1.0 percent from a year ago in September. Farm product prices
soared due to storms and heavy rain. Core inflation rose 0.9 percent.
KOSPI edged up in September. The won strengthened against the dollar on expectations
of a US stimulus package. Korea treasury yields fell backed by foreign investment.
Home price growth slowed down somewhat in September (up 0.47% → up 0.42%, m-o-m),
and Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices rose at a faster rate
(up 0.44% → up 0.53%, m-o-m).
Although exports have been improving, uncertainties linger as domestic consumption,
employment and other real economic indicators have been affected since mid-August
by the COVID-19 resurgence.
Real economic indicators pointing to a sluggish recovery in major economies, recovery has
faltered in European and emerging economies due to the resurging virus, fueling concerns
over a delay in global economic recovery.
The government will continue with its disease prevention efforts, as well as work to help
recover the economy, such as by carrying out stimulus measures, boosting consumption
and promoting exports.
Economic News Briefing
- Korea to adopt national fiscal rules
- Fitch maintains Korea's rating and IMF upgrades growth outlook
- Inbound FDI pledged up 43.6% in Q3 2020
- GDP fell 1.3% in Q3 2020
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