Overview of Korea Development Institute (KDI) Economic Bulletin, August 2020

Manufacturing and service output improved in June, as well as retail sales, facilities investment and construction investment.

Industrial production rose 4.2 percent from the previous month in June. Mining and manufacturing improved (up 7.2%, m-o-m and down 0.5%, y-o-y), as well as service output (up 2.2%, m-o-m and down 0.1%, y-o-y). Industrial production increased 0.7 percent year on year.

Retail sales rose in June (up 2.4%, m-o-m and up 6.3%, y-o-y), as well as facilities investment (up 5.4%, m-o-m and up 13.9%, y-o-y) and completed construction works (up 0.4%, m-o-m and down 2.7%, y-o-y).

Exports fell 7.0 percent year-on-year in July, the fall slowing amid easing lockdowns in major economies. Average daily exports, an indicator calculated according to the days worked, fell from a year ago (US $1.84 billion (July 2019) → US $1.71 billion (July 2020)).

The consumer sentiment index (CSI) improved 2.4 points in July to 84.2. The business sentiment index (BSI) for the manufacturing sector rose 6 points to 57, and the BSI outlook for August went up 6 point to 57.

The cyclical indicator of the coincident composite index for June increased 0.2 points to 96.7, and the cyclical indicator of the leading composite index improved 0.4 points to 99.4

The economy lost 277,000 jobs year-on-year in July. Job loss slowed as service jobs and construction jobs declined at a slower rate. The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points from a year ago to 4.0 percent.

Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent from a year ago in July. Fresh food prices rose and oil prices fell slowly. Core inflation rose 0.7 percent.

KOSPI rose in July amid foreign net buying of Korean shares. The won strengthened and Korea treasury yields dropped.

Housing prices continued to rise in July (up 0.41% → up 0.61%, m-o-m), as well as Jeonse (lump-sum deposits with no monthly payments) prices (up 0.26% → up 0.32%, m-o-m).

Although there are uncertainties with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic and long rainy spell, the country’s domestic demand has continued to improve, and exports and manufacturing are showing signs of recovery.

Global financial markets have been stable and large economies posted improvement in major indicators. However, concerns linger over the spread of COVID-19 and conflicts between huge traders.

To help the economy turn around, the government will strengthen its risk management, work to implement as planned the 3rd extra budget and other measures to boost consumption, investment and exports, and continue to work on the Korean New Deal. (by KDI) 

* You can download the KDI Economic Bulletin from here.