Business & Economy

South Korean economy grows 1.8% in first quarter

Seoul, Apr 27 (EFE).- South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.8 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year thanks to consumption, an expansionary fiscal policy and exports.

Between January and March, the South Korean economy expanded to practically the same level as prior to the pandemic, according to the Bank of Korea (BoK) on Tuesday.

With respect to the last quarter, GDP grew by 1.6 percent, improving on the growth rate of October-December 2020, which was 1.2 percent.

Compared with the last quarter of the previous year, private consumption grew in Asia’s fourth economy by 1.1 percent thanks to the purchase of both durable and non-durable goods, the BoK said in a statement.

In turn, public spending increased 2.6 percent and facilities investment rose a significant 6.6 percent “led by a growth of investment in machinery and transportation equipment.”

Exports, an important pillar of the South Korean economy, improved by 1.9 percent compared to October-December, “as exports of goods such as motor vehicles and mobile phones expanded.”

South Korean GDP data for the first quarter is above what most local analysts expected.

In a year-on-year perspective, the economy of the Asian country, one of those that best responded preventively to the pandemic, shrank by 1.3 percent and 3.2 percent in the first two quarters of 2020 and then grew by 2.1 percent and 1.2 percent in the second half of the year.

South Korea has recorded just under 120,000 Covid-19 infections since the pandemic began, adding just over 1,800 deaths.

However, its vaccination program is progressing slower than in other developed economies (only 4.4 percent of the adult population has so far received at least one dose) due to supply problems, and the current case surge (more than 600 per day in the last two weeks) raises fears of a fourth wave. EFE


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