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South Korea'smanufacturing activity shrank in June for a fourth consecutive month and by the fastest pace innearly three years, a private survey showed on Wednesday, adding urgency toSeoul's efforts to pump-prime a sputtering economy with fresh stimulus.
The Nikkei/Markit purchasing managers' index(PMI) on South Korea'smanufacturing sector slid to a seasonally adjusted 46.1 in June -the lowestsince 45.7 in September 2012 - from 47.8 in May, Markit Economicssaid in astatement.
It was the fourth consecutive month in which theindex was below the 50 markthat separates expansion and contraction.
A sub-index for new export orders during the month edged down to 47.6 in June from 47.9 in May, also the fourth straight month of contraction that underlined the impact of weak global demand as growth slows in Korea's main market China.
The growing pressure on the economy was highlighted in job losses in the manufacturing sector, which shed workers at the fastest pace in 7 months
Another sub-index for new orders received both from the local and overseas clients fell to 43.7 in June from 47.2 in May, marking the lowest since September 2012 as domestic demand decreased
South Korea's domestic consumption has been hit hard by the spread since late May of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), prompting the central bank to cut interest rates to a record low in early June and the government to draw up a stimulus package worth over $13 billion.