Economic Bulletin April 2021
The Green Book: Current Economic Trends
Retail sales and facility investment rose in January from a month ago, while mining and
manufacturing production, services output and construction investment declined.
Industrial production decreased 0.6 percent month-on-month in January. Services output declined
(down 0.2%, m-o-m and down 2.0%, y-o-y), and mining and manufacturing also fell (down 1.6%,
m-o-m and up 7.5%, y-o-y). Industrial production rose 1.4 percent year-on-year.
Retail sales increased 1.6 percent month-on-month and stayed flat year-on-year. Facility investment
rose (up 6.2%, m-o-m and up 19.4%, y-o-y), while construction investment declined (down 6.0%,
m-o-m and down 6.4%, y-o-y).
Exports went up 9.5 percent year-on-year in February backed by the IT sector and automobiles.
Average daily exports, an indicator calculated according to the days worked, jumped 26.4 percent
from a year ago (US $1.82 billion in Feb 2020 >> US $2.30 billion in Feb 2021).
The consumer sentiment index (CSI) rose 2.0 points month-on-month in February to 97.4. The
business sentiment index (BSI) for the manufacturing sector fell 3 points to 82, and the BSI outlook
for March rose 4 points to 85.
The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index for January fell 0.2 points from a month ago
to 99.5, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index rose 0.3 points to 102.7.
The economy lost 473,000 jobs year-on-year in February, and the unemployment rate rose 0.8
percentage points from a year ago to 4.9 percent.
Consumer prices went up 1.1 percent from a year ago in February, and core inflation rose 0.8 percent.
KOSPI showed high volatility in February due to the rising long-term interest rates in major economies.
The won weakened due to the strong dollar, and Korea treasury yields, especially long-term bond
yields, went up in line with rising global market interest rates.
Home prices rose at a faster rate in February (up 0.79% in January >> up 0.89% in February, m-o-m),
and Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices rose slowly (up 0.71% in January
>> up 0.64% in February, m-o-m).
The economy has seen both exports and investment improving. Although job losses eased,
domestic demand has stayed stagnant, affected by the resurging virus.
Expansion of vaccinations and the implementation of large-scale stimulus packages in major
economies have raised expectations for global economic recovery. However, financial market
volatility somewhat increased due to inflation concerns.
The government will expedite policy measures to lead quick economic recovery and stabilize
people’s livelihoods, and will make all efforts to manage internal and external risks and prepare to
carry out the supplementary budget.
Economic News Briefing
- GSP fell 1.0% in 2020
- Extra budget worth 14.9 trillion won passed at the National Assembly
- Korean FDI posts US $54.91 billion in 2020
- Government to strengthen digital distribution competitiveness
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