By Oh Hyun-woo and Kim Hwaya
Korea's composite leading indicator (CLI) in January rose for the second month in a row after having declined for 20 straight months through late last year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on March 12.
The CLI is a gauge of fluctuations in economic activity over the next six to nine months, and is based on six indicators such as business survey and stock price indexes. A score of over 100 signals an economic upturn and one under 100 a downturn.
Korea’s CLI was 98.96 in January, up nine-hundredths of a point from that in December last year (98.87). The CLI had been reported to have fallen for the 21st straight month in December last year, but the OECD readjusted the index to say it had risen after conducting a review.
"Stock markets at home and abroad performed better than expected, so there is the possibility that the CLI reflected signs of change," said Cho Young-moo, a researcher at LG Economic Research Institute. "We should focus on whether Korea's economic indicators have seen significant changes."
The OECD, meanwhile, forecast 2.6-percent growth for Korea this year, tied with the U.S. as the highest among the organization's seven member countries with a population of 50 million and per capita gross national income of USD 30,000.