On the production side, faster growth was seen in manufacturing (5.5 percent vs 2.8 percent in Q3); utilities (5.0 percent vs 1.9 percent) and services (2.7 percent vs 2.4 percent). Additionally, agriculture, forestry & fishing activities rebounded (3.2 percent vs -2.4 percent in Q3) and construction output contracted less (-5.8 percent vs -8.1 percent).
On the expenditure side, final consumption gained steam, expanding 3.6 percent after 3.0 percent growth in the third quarter, with government spending surging 7.1 percent (vs +4.6 percent) and private spending increasing for the second consecutive period by 2.5 percent. Also, gross fixed investment shrank at a softer pace (-3.8 percent vs -6.6 percent). Meantime, exports jumped 7.2 percent (vs preliminary 6.5 percent and +3.1 percent in Q3) and imports rebounded 2.5 percent (vs -1.8 percent and a above a preliminary +1.6 percent).
On a quearterly basis, the South Korean economy expanded 1.0 percent quarter-on-quarter in the three months to December 2018, up from a 0.6 percent growth in the previous three months.
Considering full 2018, the GDP advanced 2.7 percent, the slowest annual growth since 2012, retreating from a 3.1 percent expansion in 2017.