South Korea's Feb factory activity grows at fastest pace in eight months

FILE PHOTO: An employee holds a recycled copper plate at an urban mining plant in Gunsan, South Korea, April 2, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s factory output grew at its fastest pace in eight months in February, far exceeding expectations, mostly due to a boost in semiconductor and chemicals production.

Industrial output rose a seasonally-adjusted 4.3% in February from a month earlier, Statistics Korea data showed on Wednesday, rebounding from a 1.2% contraction in January and beating a median forecast of a 0.1% decline.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, semiconductor production rose 7.2% month-on-month, while chemical products manufacturing was up 7.9%, towing the expansion.

From a year earlier, factory output rose 0.9%, missing a 2.5% increase tipped in a Reuters survey and slowing from the previous month’s 7.8% expansion.

Wednesday’s data also showed service sector output last month rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in February on a monthly basis, the fastest growth since June 2020.

The sector gained, with output from accommodation facilities and restaurants surging 20.4% month-on-month, as COVID-19 measures in the country eased.

Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Tom Hogue and Sam Holmes