Service output down in restructuring-hit region: data

SEJONG-- The South Korean industrial city of Ulsan suffered a setback in service output in the third quarter from a year earlier due to poor performance in the petrochemical industry, data showed Friday.

Service output in Ulsan -- home to a South Korean major petrochemical complex, shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. -- edged down 0.1 percent in the July-September period from a year earlier. It marked the third straight quarter that service output has fallen in Ulsan.

Yang Dong-hee, director of the short-term service division at Statistics Korea, said a dwindling population and a decline in output in the petrochemical industry in Ulsan were to blame for the decreased service output there.

Meanwhile, output of vessels and cars in Ulsan rose 25 percent and 3.3 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, respectively.

Retail sales in Ulsan edged up 0.2 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier due to increased sales of cars and consumption of gasoline. It marked a turnaround from the fifth consecutive quarter of on-year decline in retail sales in Ulsan.

The statistics agency said North Chungcheong Province saw its retail sales fall 4.2 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the sharpest decline among seven major cities and nine provinces.

Yang said the decline came as many people in North Chungcheong Province visited Sejong City, an administrative hub 130 kilometers south of Seoul, for shopping.

Service output and retail sales in Seoul -- which is home to one-fifth of South Korea's 51 million population -- rose 2.9 percent and 5.2 percent in the third quarter, respectively.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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