South Korea’s GDP growth revised down

Seoul, June 7 (IANS) South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter was revised down to 0.8 percent amid the still fragile consumer spending, central bank data showed Friday.

Real GDP, the broadest measure of economic performance, rose 0.8 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier, down from a preliminary estimate of a 0.9 percent growth unveiled around a month ago, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The figure was downgraded from an earlier forecast, but it was up from a 0.3 percent increase in the prior quarter, marking the highest growth in four quarters, reported Xinhua.

The downward revision came amid the lingering concerns over the global economic conditions. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) lowered its 2013 economic growth outlook for South Korea from 3.1 percent to 2.6 percent, the same as the forecast made by the BOK.

To boost the sluggish economy, the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 2.5 percent in early May, and the finance ministry unveiled the 17.3 trillion won ($15 billion) worth of extra budget plant in mid-April. The ministry slashed its 2013 growth outlook to 2.3 percent.

Exports, which account for around half of the South Korean economy, increased 3 percent on-quarter in the first quarter, rebounding from a 1.1 percent fall in the prior quarter.

The export rebound offset a reduction in private consumption that declined 0.4 percent in the first quarter. The consumer spending expanded 0.8 percent in the previous quarter.

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