South Korea Dec factory output drops, misses forecasts

SEOUL, Jan 31 (Reuters) - South Korea’s industrial output fell in December more sharply than expected and logged its worst annual performance in over 2-1/2 years, government data showed on Tuesday.

The country’s factory output fell 2.9% in December from a month earlier, on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared with a 0.6% gain in November and a 0.2% fall tipped in a Reuters survey, according to Statistics Korea.

The output dropped 7.3% from a year earlier, faster than 3.4% in the preceding month and economists’ expectations for 5.1%. It was the fastest since May 2020.

The data comes after the central bank’s advance estimates for fourth-quarter gross domestic product last Thursday, which showed the first contraction in 2-1/2 years and included the December performance. (Reporting by Jihoon Lee; editing by Jonathan Oatis)