SEJONG, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s industrial output inched up in July, but consumption dropped amid the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday, as policymakers worried that a recent resurgence of the virus could delay an economic recovery.

The nation’s overall industrial production rose 0.1 percent on-month in July, following a 4.1 percent on-month gain in June, according to data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Compared with a year earlier, however, overall industrial production fell 0.7 percent in July.

Retail sales dipped 6 percent from a month earlier, and facility investment declined 2.2 percent on-month.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries rose 1.6 percent on-month in July, marking a second straight month of expansion.

Sales of durable goods, such as cars, plunged 15.4 percent, and those of nondurable ones, such as cosmetics, edged down 0.6 percent, the data showed.

Production of chips fell 4.8 percent on-month in July, but auto output jumped 14.4 percent last month.

Ahn Hyung-joon, a Statistics Korea official, said consumption declined in July after people spent most of their virus emergency handouts in May and June.

In May, the government offered the relief funds totaling 14.3 trillion won (US$12 billion) to all households as part of efforts to cushion the economic fallout from the new coronavirus.

The so-called cyclical component of the composite leading index, which predicts the turning point in business cycles, rose by 0.4 point on-month to 100.3.

The nation’s economy shrank 3.3 percent on-quarter in the first quarter of this year, the sharpest quarterly contraction since the first quarter of 1998.’