Dampened by strikes at major carmakers, Korea’s industrial production growth slowed unexpectedly in August to show the first decline in four months, government data showed, according to the Korea Herald.
The National Statistical Office said that industrial production grew 5.5% in August on a year-on-year basis, maintaining the upward trend for the sixth month. But it was lower than the 7.0% growth in July.
When seasonally adjusted, industrial output in August fell 1.6% from the previous month.
The data showed that consumption and corporate investment remained mostly intact, with the output eroded somewhat by walkouts at Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors.
“The strikes led to a temporary setback in August’s industrial output, but the rest of the economy appears to be in pretty good shape,” Hwang In-seong, an economist at Samsung Economic Research Institute, told the paper, which noted that Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors account for nearly 75% of locally-made automobiles that in turn contribute to about 6% of the nation’s industrial output.
The Korea Herald said the two-week strike at Hyundai Motor cost approximately 591 billion won ($US570 million) due to lost production. Kia Motors said it incurred a 427 billion won loss. The disputes ended this month.