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Consumption keeps improving amid signs of easing export slump: finance ministry

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korea's consumption continues to improve amid signs of a slump in exports and industrial production easing, the finance ministry said Friday.

In a monthly economic report, called the Green Book, the Ministry of Economy and Finance also flagged the economy's continuing uncertainty stemming from the coronavirus pandemic and the annual monsoon season.

"South Korea's indicators of domestic demand continue to take a turn for the better, despite uncertainty related to COVID-19 and the rainy season," the report said. "The economy is also showings signs of its exports and output declining at a slower pace."

Externally, worries over a delay in global economic recovery persist due to the continued global spread of the coronavirus and escalating conflicts between major countries, despite stable financial markets and improvements in real-economy indicators.

The South Korean economy has been battered by the novel coronavirus since the first case was confirmed here on Jan. 20. Monsoon-season heavy rains have pounded the central and southern regions, leaving 42 people dead or missing and more than 7,800 people displaced and inflicting huge property damage.

The report said indicators of South Korea's private consumption continued to improve in July, raising hopes for an economic recovery.

Credit card spending climbed 4.8 percent in July from a year earlier, marking the third consecutive month of increase.

Online retail sales jumped 22.2 percent on-year last month. Sales at discount stores fell 6.2 percent on-year, but it was lower than declines of 7.1 percent in June and 9.3 percent in May.

The country's consumer sentiment index came to 84.2 last month, well below the benchmark 100, but it continued improve from previous months.

In July, South Korea's exports sank 7 percent from a year earlier, but it was much lower than the 10.9 percent dip in June, thanks to the easing of lockdowns in major economies.

Industrial production rose 4.2 percent on-month in July, and corporate capital spending and construction investment increased 5.4 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

The report also said South Korea's business confidence remained below par but continued to improve in July amid the country's stable financial markets. (Yonhap)
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