Strong Car, Chip Exports Cause Rise in South Korea Output

Manufacturing rose 2.8%

South Korea's industrial output grew faster than expected in December thanks to strong exports of computer chips and cars, official figures showed on Dec. 31.

The statistic is a fresh indication that Asia's fourth-largest economy is starting the year in good shape.

Figures released last week showed 2010 economic growth at an eight-year high of 6.1%, while the government expects growth of around 5% this year.

Mining and manufacturing output rose 2.8% in December from a month earlier, Statistics Korea said, faster than the 1.6% increase forecast by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

In November it rose month-on-month by a revised 1.5%.

The December figure was up 9.8% from December 2009, compared to November's revised 10.7% year-on-year increase. For the whole of 2010, industrial production increased 16.7%.

"Semiconductors and cars contributed a combined 69.3% to the monthly (output) gain," the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said. "The real economy seems to be recovering again after a temporary correction."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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