The drop in sales was partly attributed to slowing growth in exports.
South Korea’s outbound shipments expanded 5.5 percent on-year last year, slowing from a 15.8-percent spike the previous year.
The BOK report is based on a review of 24,539 nonfinancial firms that are subject to external audit. They include 10,872 manufacturing companies.
Sales of manufacturing firms grew 4.5 percent on-year in 2018, compared with a 9.8-percent increase the year before, while those of nonmanufacturing companies slowed to a 3.8-percent increase from a 9.9-percent hike.
Their operating profits also slowed to a 6.9-percent gain from a 7.3-percent rise over the cited period.
The firms’ fiscal soundness, on the other hand, improved as their debt ratio dropped from 95.7 percent in 2017 to 91.5 percent last year, with the ratio of their total borrowing to assets also slipping from 26 percent to 25.6 percent over the same period.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)