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Korea Economic Forecast

Korea Economic Outlook

February 25, 2020

The outlook for the first quarter moderated in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted supply chains and is expected to weigh heavily on Chinese demand for Korean manufactured goods. That said, growth should remain robust thanks to strong household spending, buttressed by gains in employment and as consumer confidence hit a 19-month high in January. Moreover, fixed investment should have benefited from higher business sentiment in February and strong government spending targeted at supporting the private sector. This follows Q4’s acceleration which was propelled by a robust external sector. In other news, government officials are expected to unveil an emergency spending plan to counter the impact of the coronavirus. President Moon Jae-in announced USD 365 million in loans to support the tourism and shipping sectors in early February. The next round of stimulus is expected to prop up export-oriented firms. This comes as the number of cases in Korea jumped in recent days prompting a number of nations to tighten travel restrictions to Korea.

Korea Economic Growth

This year, economic growth is expected to accelerate slightly due to a recovery in fixed investment and as the technology and construction sectors strengthen. Nevertheless, weaker-than-expected growth in China, the coronavirus outbreak in the region and political tensions with Japan pose major downside risks. FocusEconomics panelists project the economy will grow 2.1% in 2020, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.4% in 2021.

Korea Economy Data

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Population (million)50.751.051.251.451.6
GDP per capita (USD)29,25428,72329,27331,55533,308
GDP (USD bn)1,4851,4651,5001,6241,721
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)3.22.82.93.22.7
Consumption (annual variation in %)2.02.22.62.82.8
Investment (annual variation in %)3.15.46.69.8-2.4
Industrial Production (annual variation in %)0.3-0.32.22.61.4
Retail Sales (annual variation in %)2.12.43.93.75.6
Unemployment Rate3.53.63.73.73.8
Public Debt (% of GDP)37.337.337.637.7-  
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)0.50.01.01.31.6
Money (annual variation in %)8.18.27.15.16.7
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)0.81.11.31.41.3
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)1.30.71.01.91.5
Inflation (PPI, annual variation in %)-0.5-4.0-1.83.51.9
Policy Interest Rate (%)2.001.501.251.501.75
Stock Market (annual variation in %)-4.82.43.321.8-17.3
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)1,0531,1321,1601,1311,100
Exchange Rate (vs USD)1,0991,1731,2081,0711,116
Current Account (% of GDP)5.67.26.54.64.5
Current Account Balance (USD bn)83.010597.975.277.5
Trade Balance (USD billion)47.290.389.295.269.7
Exports (USD billion)573527495574605
Imports (USD billion)526436406478535
Exports (annual variation in %)2.3-8.0-5.915.85.4
Imports (annual variation in %)1.9-16.9-6.917.811.9
International Reserves (USD)364368371389404
External Debt (% of GDP)28.627.025.525.425.6

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Korea Facts

Value Change Date
Bond Yield1.681.55 %Dec 31
Exchange Rate1,1560.21 %Dec 31

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