South Korea predicts lower 2023 GDP growth, vows to support exporters

By Reuters   December 20, 2022 | 10:24 pm PT
South Korea predicts lower 2023 GDP growth, vows to support exporters
People wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as they take a walk on a sunny spring day in Seoul, South Korea, May 3, 2022. Photo by Reuters/Heo Ran
South Korea's economic growth next year will slow to 1.6% from an estimated 2.5% this year as the world economy loses momentum and pent-up domestic consumption after Covid-19 curbs were lifted fades, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

That would be less than the average 2.3% growth posted during the last five years by Asia's fourth-largest economy, which is home to major global suppliers of items ranging from cars and ships to computer chips and industrial machinery.

"The effects from sluggish global trade and fast interest rate increases will likely limit the growth momentum for our economy across the board," the ministry said in a policy statement, adding growth has already begun slowing in the current quarter.

It is the first full-year economic blueprint for President Yoon Suk-yeol's administration since its launch in May. Yoon has recently said his government would focus policy support on reviving the economy by boosting exports.

The ministry said exports would fall 4.5% next year, reversing a 6.6% gain in 2022, but said it would provide a wide range of support for export industries to minimize the magnitude of the export decline.

It said inflation would slow to 3.5% in 2023 after hitting 5.1% this year, the fastest since 1998 while the country was suffering from the impact from the Asia financial crisis.

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