South Korea's industrial output surged at the fastest rate for more than six years in February over January, Statistics Korea data showed on Thursday, as demand for smartphones and cars drove factory activity.
Output rose by a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent in February on monthly terms, following a downwardly revised 2.1 percent fall in January. The initial reading for January was down 1.8 percent.
February's growth rate was the fastest since a 3.7 percent gain in September 2009 and far outperformed a median 0.2 percent decline tipped in a Reuters survey of 12 analysts.
Factory data tends to be volatile, even after adjustment for seasonal factors.
"I think industrial output has finally hit bottom and is now coming up. I don't see any huge issues through end-Q2 but recovery in consumption will be key going forward," said Park Jung-woo, an economist at Korea Investment & Securities.