Roundup: S. Korea's industrial production reduces on labor strikes of carmakers

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South Korea's industrial output reduced last month, marking the first decline in three months, as labor strikes of major carmakers decreased auto production, a government report showed Wednesday.

Production in all industries, including manufacturing, service, construction and public administration sectors, fell 0.8 percent in September from a month earlier after rising 1 percent in the prior month, according to Statistics Korea.

From a year earlier, the output decreased 1 percent in September after gaining 2.9 percent in the previous month.

Output in the mining and manufacturing industries declined 2.1 percent in September from a month earlier after growing 1.6 percent in the previous month.

Auto production tumbled 18.6 percent last month due to labor strikes in major automakers such as top carmaker Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors. Meanwhile, Less business days, which stemmed from the Chuseok holiday, led to weak auto sales.

Excluding the auto sector, the manufacturing and mining production grew 0.2 percent in September, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said, noting that production in October was enhanced due to the disappearance of one-off factors.

Manufacturers operated at an average capacity of 73.7 percent in September, down 2.6 percentage points from a month earlier. Inventories increased 2.3 percent last month, but shipments reduced 2.7 percent.

Output in the service industry expanded 0.3 percent on month in September, but production in the construction industry decreased 2. 2 percent. The figure for the public administration sector slid 3. 3 percent last month.

On the expenditure front, retail sales decreased 2 percent in September from a month earlier, shifting from a 0.3 percent expansion in the prior month. The fall in auto production led to lower sales of durable goods.

Facility investment dropped 4.1 percent on month in September, keeping its downward trend for three straight months. Capital spending in the machinery sector rose 1.3 percent last month, but the reading for the transport equipment plunged 22.9 percent due to delayed purchases of airplanes.

The value of construction completed at a constant price declined 2.2 percent on month in September after rising 0.3 percent in the previous month. Construction orders received at a current price increased 8.1 percent, rising for the third consecutive month.

The cyclical component of the composite leading indicator, which reflects outlook for industrial activities, retreated 0.2 point in September from a month ago, the first fall in six months. The coincident index of economic indicators slid 0.1 point last month. Endi

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