[SEOUL] South Korea's industrial output in December rose more than expected and at its fastest pace in three months, data showed on Friday, providing some relief to those concerned about Asia's fourth-largest economy losing momentum.
Output rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.3 per cent in December on monthly terms, following a revised 2.1 per cent fall in November, Statistics Korea data showed. The revised November reading was unchanged from the preliminary report.
December's output growth was far better than a median 0.3 per cent rise tipped in a Reuters survey of 14 analysts, although forecasts ranged widely from a fall of 0.5 per cent to a 2.0 per cent gain.
On an annual basis, industrial output declined 1.9 per cent in December after a revised 0.1 per cent fall in November. The median Reuters poll forecast was for the output to have slipped 3.0 per cent in annual terms last month.
Statistics Korea's data also showed that service-sector output held steady in December from a month earlier, following a revised 0.3 per cent gain in November.