S. Korean gov't sees signs of slowing consumption, construction

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SEOUL, April 12 (Xinhua) -- The South Korean government saw signs of slowdown in consumption and construction for the third straight month in its economic report on Friday.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance said in its monthly report, called Green Book, that the South Korean economy recently continued to show the high employment rate and the recovery of manufacturing output and export despite the flinching inflation slowdown.

The ministry, however, noted that the pace of recovery varied by an economic sector due to the private consumption slump and the sluggish construction as well as the leading economic indicators' weakness.

It cautioned that uncertainties remained such as geopolitical risks in Europe and the Middle East, and the possibility of increased volatility in raw material prices, despite the continued expectations for the global economy's soft landing and the improved IT industry.

The country's export grew 3.1 percent in March from a year earlier, keeping an upward trend for the sixth consecutive month.

Production in the mining and manufacturing industry rose 3.1 percent in February compared to the previous month, but retail sale, which reflects private consumption, retreated 3.1 percent in the cited month.

Output in the construction sector diminished 1.9 percent in February from a month earlier, but the service industry's production climbed 0.7 percent.

The number of jobs increased 173,000 in March from a year earlier, while unemployment rate added 0.1 percentage point to 3.0 percent.

Sentiment among consumers over economic situation worsened last month.

Consumer prices gained 3.1 percent in March from a year earlier, staying above 3 percent for the second successive month. Enditem

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