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South Korea's September factory output contracts as auto chip shortage bites

South Korea's September factory output contracts as auto chip shortage bites

FILE PHOTO: Hyundai Motor's sedans are assembled at a factory of the carmaker in Asan, about 100 km (62 miles) south of Seoul, January 22, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won/File Photo

SEOUL: South Korea's factory output snapped 10 straight months of year-on-year growth in September, dashing expectations for continued expansion, as global chip shortages hit production.

Industrial production last month fell 1.8 per cent year-on-year, Statistics Korea data showed on Friday (Oct 29), missing forecasts for 1.4 per cent growth and down from a 9.7 per cent expansion in August.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, output fell 0.8 per cent, missing a median 0.3 per cent decline forecast and following a 0.7 per cent drop in August.

A breakdown of data showed production of cars shrank 9.8 per cent from a month earlier, while that of semiconductors and electrical equipments also slumped 1.6 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively.

"September industrial output was weak as global supply chain disruptions were seen weighing on production in the manufacturing industry and on fewer working days," said Oh Chang-sob, an economist at Hyundai Motor Securities.

The country's biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor Co reported a lower-than-expected profits on Tuesday as the global chip crisis drove down vehicle shipments and said it will take a long time to get back to normal chip supplies.

That comes just weeks after its global chief operating officer said the automaker aims to develop its own chips to reduce reliance on chipmakers.

Separately, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday said it expects component shortages to affect chip demand in the current quarter, even as it reported the highest quarterly profit in three years.

On an annual basis, production for cars and metal products plunged 24.2 per cent and 16.9 per cent, respectively, offsetting a 30.6per cent expansion in semiconductors.

Friday's data also showed service sector output expanded 1.3 per cent month-on-month in September, while retail sales jumped 2.5per cent, helped by the easing of COVID-19 restrictions at home.

South Korea unveiled on Monday a three-phase scheme to scrap all limits on distancing curbs gone by February, except for mask-wearing mandates.

Source: Reuters/ad


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