Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s industrial production rose for the first time in four months as stronger sales of cars and electronics helped offset the effects of a cooling global economy.
Output rose 0.8 percent last month from August when it dropped a revised 0.9 percent, Statistics Korea said today. The median estimate of 11 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 1.5 percent rise. Production rose 0.7 percent from a year earlier.
“Demand both overseas and at home is still weak but it seems the worst has passed, with exports to major markets declining at a much slower pace,” said Lee Sung Kwon, an economist at Shinhan Investment Corp. in Seoul. “Things should improve sooner or later.”
Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest carmaker, and Samsung Electronics Co., the biggest maker of mobile phones, reported profit that beat analysts’ estimates in the third quarter. The resilience of exporters highlights the economy’s potential to rebound after expanding at the slowest pace in three years in the three months through September.
The won strengthened 0.1 percent to 1,091.00 per dollar at 9:38 a.m. in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency earlier touched 1,090.00 the strongest since Sept. 13, 2011. The Kospi Index rose 0.6 percent.
Hyundai said Oct. 25 it will probably beat its full-year sales forecast as deliveries climb 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter, led by demand in China. Samsung said Oct. 26 that operating profit from telecommunications more than doubled as its Galaxy brand devices widened their lead over Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
Hyundai benefited last month from anti-Japan protests in China over a territorial dispute, which helped lessen the blow from a seven-week strike that cost the carmaker an estimated record 1.7 trillion won in lost production.
The nation’s output of automobiles expanded 12.9 percent in September from August, when their production declined 17.6 percent due to the labor dispute, according to today’s report from Statistics Korea.
“The September rebound in output is largely attributed to increased production in key carmakers after the end of strike,” said Lee Sang Jae, a senior economist at Hyundai Securities Co. in Seoul. “It still falls short of a sign of a recovery.”
South Korea’s current-account surplus widened to the second biggest on record in September after exports increased from the previous month, Bank of Korea director-general Kim Young Bae told reporters yesterday in Seoul. Manufacturers’ confidence for November fell for a second straight month.
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