SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Employees assemble vehicle chassis modules on the production line at the Hyundai Mobis factory in Asan, South Chungcheong, South Korea, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017
South Korea's industrial output plunged at the fastest pace in more than eight years, government data showed on Friday, erasing gains seen in the previous month and dragged down by semiconductor production.
In monthly terms, factory output fell by a seasonally adjusted 3.4 percent in February from a month earlier, marking the sharpest drop since late 2008 when output plummeted 10.6 percent. A Reuters poll projected output would show no growth from a month earlier.
The decline was largely due to the unusually sharp 2.9 percent jump seen in January, revised down from a 3.3 percent rise seen earlier.
Statistics Korea said smartphone manufacturers had opted to use inventories as sales turned sluggish last month, although but this was seen as temporary ahead of Samsung Electronics launching its latest flagship phone, which it did on Thursday.
The government shrugged off Friday's gloomy data, seeing South Korea's economy still on its way to recovery.