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South Korea's December factory output growth at over 5-year high

[SEOUL] South Korea's industrial output in December grew at its fastest pace in more than five years over the previous month, data showed on Friday, providing some relief to those concerned about Asia's fourth-largest economy cooling quickly.

Output rose by a seasonally adjusted 3.0 per cent in December on monthly terms, following a revised 1.0 per cent rise in November, Statistics Korea data showed. The reading for November was revised down from a preliminary 1.3 per cent rise.

December's output growth was the highest since a 3.7 per cent gain in September 2009 and faster than a median 1.0 percent rise tipped in a Reuters survey of 13 analysts, with forecasts ranging from gains of 0.2 per cent to 2.4 per cent.

On an annual basis, industrial output rose 0.4 per cent in December after a revised 3.6 per cent fall in November. The Reuters poll tipped output to have slipped by 1.0 per cent in annual terms last month.

Statistics Korea data also showed that service-sector output showed no growth in December from a month earlier, following a revised 0.3 per cent fall in November.