|S Korean factories cut output in January
South Korea's industrial output shrank for the first time in five months in January, official figures showed on Thursday, dampening hopes for a robust recovery for Asia's fourth-largest economy.
Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries shrank a seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent compared with December, marking the first monthly fall since August, state-run Statistics Korea said, AFP reports.
Compared with a year earlier, January's reading was up 7.3 percent, compared with a revised 0.5 percent decline in December.
Auto production rose nearly 18 percent from a year ago and 1.5 percent from December, but many other major sectors showed a sharp decline.
Production of electronic devices such as mobile phones shrank 10.1 percent from a month ago and 6.8 percent from a year ago, while computer production also fell 4.4 percent from December and 62.6 percent from a year earlier.
Chipmaking and other technology component production dropped 6.2 percent from a month ago but rose 15 percent from a year ago.
South Korea's export-driven economy was badly affected by shrinking demand overseas due to the eurozone sovereign-debt crisis and a slowdown in China.
The economy grew 2.0 percent for the whole of 2012 -- the slowest pace in three years -- compared with 3.6 percent growth in 2011.
The central bank recently slashed its forecast for economic growth for this year to 2.8 percent from 3.2 percent estimated last October.