S. Korea industrial output falls for second month

S. Korea industrial output falls for second month

SEOUL - South Korea's industrial output shrank for the second straight month in February, fuelling concerns of a slower-than-expected recovery for Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries dropped 0.8 per cent in February from the previous month, following a revised 1.2 per cent contraction in January, state-run Statistics Korea said.

"The statistics indicate that our economy continues to walk sideways struggling with difficult situations," said Park Seong-Dong, head of the agency's economic statistics bureau.

The data came as South Korea's government was preparing a new economic stimulus package.

South Korea's economy expanded 2.0 per cent in 2012 - the slowest growth in three years, with exports hit by slowing overseas demand in key markets and competition from a weak Japanese yen.

On Thursday, Seoul's finance ministry cut the economic growth forecast for this year to 2.3 per cent from its December projection of 3.0 per cent.

February's sluggish production figure was partly blamed on the manufacturing sector, where output was down 1.2 per cent from January and 9.8 per cent from a year earlier.

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