Economic slump easing on improving manufacturing sector: KDI

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) — The South Korean economy sees its slumps easing as the manufacturing sector has continued to improve on the back of robust exports, a state-run think tank said Wednesday.

The service sector is still suffering from setbacks amid the pandemic, but its sluggishness somewhat moderated as the country relaxed tougher social distancing rules in February, according to a monthly economic assessment report by the Korea Development Institute (KDI).

“The Korean economy is exhibiting a moderating slowdown led by continued favorable conditions in manufacturing and improvements in economic sentiment,” the report showed.

The country’s industrial output grew at the fastest pace in eight months in February in the latest sign that the economy is on a recovery track amid the pandemic.

Exports, which account for half of the economy, grew 16.6 percent on-year in March to extend their gains for the fifth consecutive month.

Consumers and manufacturers’ business sentiments also markedly improved as people anticipated fast economic recovery.

But the KDI added that economic uncertainties still run high as the country has recently reported a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases.

This file photo, taken March 2, 2021, shows ships carrying containers docking at a port in South Korea’s southeastern port city of Busan. (Yonhap)