South Korea January factory output falls
South Korea's industrial output fell at its fastest pace in a year in January as production of key export items such as semiconductors and cars weakened, lending strength to views the central bank may lower rates again soon.
The weak production data came ahead of a separate private-sector survey that showed manufacturing activity contracting at its fastest pace in six months as poor exports leave Asia's fourth-largest economy struggling to mount a solid recovery.
Factory output in January fell 1.8 percent from December in seasonally-adjusted terms, far worse than a revised 0.5 percent gain for December and a median 0.6 percent slip tipped in a Reuters survey.
It was also the sharpest decline since a 3.5 percent drop in January 2015. "We do not feel South Korean exports will improve within a short period of time," said Stephen Lee, an economist at Samsung Securities in Seoul, pointing to low oil prices and sluggish demand from China.