“S. Korean economy may face uncertainties next year”

Seoul, "South Korea's economy is expected to face growing economic uncertainties next year, with the government ready to take preemptive measures to reduce any possible downside risks," the country's chief economic policymaker said today.

"Given various factors such as external conditions, our economy may face growing uncertainties," Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in a parliamentary audit session in Seoul.

The minister said the government will take measures to reduce any potential downside risks by raising fiscal spending amid rising expectations that rate hikes are in the offing, South Korean News Agency (Yonhap) reported.

"I don't see any chance of the economy contracting, but we have to take steps to reduce uncertainties," he said.

Last week, Kim said Asia's fourth-largest economy might grow at a lower-than-expected pace this year due to the growing trade war between the United States and China and rising oil prices.

The finance ministry earlier estimated that the economy would grow at a pace of 2.9 per cent this year. But economic data are fueling concerns that the economy is losing upward momentum.

In the third quarter of the year, the South Korean economy grew 0.6 per cent on quarter, the same as the 0.6 per cent gain tallied in the second quarter and down from a 1 per cent expansion in the first quarter, according to the preliminary estimate by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

From a year earlier, the country grew 2 per cent over the three-month period, marking the slowest on-year growth since the third quarter of 2009.

The sluggish third-quarter growth came a week after the BOK revised down its growth target for 2018 to 2.7 per cent from 2.9 per cent. In the first nine months of the year, the South Korean economy grew by 2.5 per cent.

Sluggish construction and facility investment major influences on the slowdown. The number of new jobs fell to 17,000 in the third quarter of the year, plunging from a 101,000 gain three months earlier.

For the whole of 2018, the BOK sees only 90,000 new jobs being added to the labour market, sharply down from the modest estimate made just three months earlier.

Source: Bahrain News Agency