S.Korea factory activity contracts on cooling new orders -PMI

By Cynthia Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s factory activity contracted in December, a business survey showed on Tuesday, due to falling new orders, which were squeezed by weaker Chinese demand.

The purchasing managers index (PMI) for South Korean manufacturers, compiled by S&P Global, was at 49.9 in December, slightly below 50.0 in November. The 50.0 point threshold also separates growth from contraction.

New export orders declined for the fifth month in a row in December, as “anecdotal evidence highlighted weak Chinese demand,” S&P Global said in a statement.

“The outlook for 2024 is positive but fairly muted, with the Future Output Index still running below its long-run trend,” said Trevor Balchin, Economics Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “But with purchases of inputs rising slightly and employment growing at a faster rate in December, firms are apparently gearing up for higher workloads in the coming months.”

(Reporting by Cynthia Kim. Editing by Sam Holmes)