SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's industrial output contracted for the second consecutive month in August, fueling already heightened worries about uncertainties at home and abroad, a government report showed Friday.
Output in mining, manufacturing and electricity & gas sectors shrank 1.9 percent in August from a month earlier after recording a 0.3 percent on-month contraction in July, the Statistics Korea said in a statement. From a year before, the output grew 4.8 percent, marking the 26th straight month of on-year expansion.
The August on-month contraction was mainly attributable to one- off factors such as movement and repairs of some factories. "The reduction in industrial activity was affected partly by temporary and seasonal factors such as repairs of some auto plants and movement of some cosmetics factories," an official at the finance ministry said.
Weaker demand for chips, autos and components contributed to the underperformance of industrial activities in August, according to the statement.
The data came amid mounting global economic jitters such as the euro-area fiscal crisis and economic slowdown in advanced nations. The finance ministry said on Wednesday that it will strengthen its operation of economic policies by replacing its weekly policy coordination meeting with a crisis management meeting.
Shipment in the mining firms and manufacturers contracted 0.6 percent on-month in August, while inventory in the sector grew 3.1 percent over the same period.
Local manufacturers operated at an average capacity of 80.5 percent last month, down 1.6 percentage points from the previous month. The factory utilization rate stood at 79.7 percent a year before.
Retail sales posted a 0.2 percent on-month contraction in August as underperformance in non-durable goods outweighed strong sales of durable and semi-durable ones, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, production in the service industry rose 0.5 percent on-month in August due to upswings in the financial, insurance, publication & broadcasting, healthcare and welfare sectors.
Facility investment grew 1.3 percent on-month last month as capital spending in electric & electronic devices and precision machinery increased.
The value of construction completed at constant price gained 1. 1 percent in August from a month earlier, with the value of construction orders received at current price growing 4.8 percent on-month last month.
The leading index of economic indicators, which gauges business activities eight to 15 months ahead, rose 2 percent from a year earlier, unchanged from the previous month. The coincident index, measuring current economic conditions, also stayed unchanged from a month before.