Semiconductors top contributors to industrial output, autos limiting growth: data

SEOUL-- Semiconductors remained the top contributor to South Korea's industrial output last year as autos limited overall growth, government data showed Sunday.

Data compiled by Statistics Korea showed computer chips ranking No. 1, pushing up the country's industrial production for the second year in a row in 2016.

It said refined petroleum and petrochemical products came in second and third place, respectively.

"The ranking shows the shift in leading industries as the fourth-largest economy shows signs of recovery," a government source said.

The statistical agency said that last year the country's output in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries moved up 1 percent on year, while the country's gross domestic product advanced 2.8 percent vis-a-vis the year before.

Broken down by specific businesses, semiconductors contributed 1.77 percentage points to growth index last year, with numbers for refined petroleum and petrochemical standing at 0.32 percent point and 0.29 percentage point, each.

Refined petroleum encompassed gasoline and diesel production, while petrochemicals involves extracting propylene and para-xylene from crude oil to make such goods as cosmetics.

Besides these areas, metals, pharmaceuticals, non-metal minerals, tobacco and food all helped to increase industrial output.

On the inverse side autos, which nudged up growth by 0.32 percentage point in 2014, actually brought down numbers by 0.34 percentage point last year, after adding 0.15 percentage point the year before.

"The labor strife that lasted several months played a part in hurting autos and limited overall industrial output," Statistics Korea said.

For the first quarter of 2017, numbers showed semiconductors and petrochemicals continuing to lead output and exports, with industrial production mining, manufacturing and utilities gaining 3.6 percent on-year.

Semiconductors surged 19.6 percent, which contributed 1.71 percentage points to industrial output growth. Autos, on the other hand, added just 0.05 percentage points in the January-March period.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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