South Korea industrial output inches up 0.1% in January

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's industrial output expanded for the fourth straight month in January, despite reduced working days caused by the Chinese New Year holiday, government data showed on Friday.

Total production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries in Asia's fourth-largest economy inched up 0.1 per cent from December, Statistics Korea said.

The growth rate was down from an unusually high 2.4 per cent on-month expansion in December.

Compared with a year earlier, January's output shrank 3.8 per cent. Because of the Chinese New Year holidays, January had 22 working days this year, compared to 24 days in 2013.

Production of memory chips and semiconductor parts made by firms such as Samsung and SK Hynix fell 4.7 per cent on-month in January, while auto production by the likes of Hyundai and Kia rose 6.7 per cent.

Production of mobile phones and TVs - the country's key export items - increased 9.5 per cent from the previous month.

Production in the service sector rose 0.9 per cent on-month and expanded two per cent from a year earlier, the report showed.

The South's export-reliant economy grew 2.8 per cent in 2013, and the central bank has forecast a 3.8 per cent expansion in 2014.