20-08-2016

Shipping sector continues drag on the economy

shipping

Restructuring of the shipping and shipbuilding industries is continuing to have an effect on the economy in Korea, government data shows.

Even though nationwide production for the mining and manufacturing industries rose 1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2016, it dropped 1.9 percent in South Gyeongsang and fell 1.1 percent in Ulsan. The industry in these regions mostly is ship-related.

Retail sales rose 6 percent on average in Korea in the second quarter, but rose only 2.7 percent in Ulsan and just 1.2 percent in South Gyeongsang, Statistics Korea said Thursday.

“We can’t say for sure that the restructuring is the only cause of the slow economic figures in South Gyeongsang and Ulsan, but we do believe that it might have affected the figures at least a little bit,” said an official at Statistics Korea.

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The southern island of Jeju, on the other hand, posted the best economic performance of 17 major cities and provinces in Korea.

Jeju’s industrial output in mining and manufacturing jumped 17.2 percent and the figure for service production rose 8.7 percent, the government said. Jeju’s retail sales soared 13.2 percent and the number of newly hired employees increased by 6.2 percent, some 500 percent more than the nationwide average of 1.1 percent.

“Sales in large sized retailers rose significantly in Jeju and we believe it improved as there were more tourists visiting the island this year,” said an official at Statistics Korea. “Jeju’s other economic data such as employment and production also rose as its regional economy became more vitalized. The service sector, in particular, hired a large number of employees in the second quarter of this year.”

Sales of large discount chains in Jeju rose 30.1 percent, while the nationwide figure grew just 4.8 percent.

The statistics agency also said Jeju’s figure rose due to the base effect from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome that hit the country last year.

Government data also showed that more people are leaving the capital.

A total of 34,680 people net migrated from Seoul and an official at Statistics Korea blamed expensive housing prices as one of the main reasons for this.

Neighboring Gyeonggi, on the other hand, saw 28,146 people migrating into the province in the second quarter of this year and the administrative city of Sejong gaining 6,251 residents. Jeju also added 4,264 people.

“The data showed that more people aged between 30 and 34 are moving into Gyeonggi, Sejong and Jeju, while the same age group is leaving Seoul,” the statistics agency said. Daegu and Busan saw more people leaving their cities and data showed that more people between 25 and 29 decided to do so.

Consumer prices rose 0.9 percent year-on-year in the second quarter as the prices of food and lodging services increased. The price rose by the least in Gangwon, North Chungcheong and North Gyeongsang at 0.3 percent, while it was higher than the nationwide figure in Seoul (1.3 percent) and Busan (1 percent).

Source: Korea JoongAng Daily

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