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(LEAD) S. Korea's economic growth slows to 2.6 pct in 2022 on weak exports, investment

08:43 January 26, 2023

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SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's economy grew at a slower pace in 2022 on weak exports and corporate investment amid economic recession woes, central bank data showed Thursday.

South Korea's gross domestic product is estimated to have grown 2.6 percent in 2022, compared with a 4.1 percent increase tallied in the previous year, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). It still beat the BOK's annual growth outlook.

For the fourth quarter of last year, the economy shrank 0.4 percent from three months earlier, compared with the previous quarter's 0.3 percent growth.

The 2022 growth marked the slowest pace since 2020, when the economy contracted 0.7 percent amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The slower growth is blamed on weak exports growth amid slumping sales of semiconductors and other goods. Overseas shipments expanded 2.9 percent in 2022, compared with a 10.8 percent rise in 2021, the data showed.

The economy faces mounting worries over a recession that could hurt demand for South Korean goods weighed down by global monetary tightening aimed at reducing high inflation.

Strict coronavirus curbs in China, in particular, hit South Korea's exports hard last year as their access to the world's largest market was hampered.

Private consumption expanded 4.4 percent last year, higher than a 3.7 percent rise in 2021, apparently thanks to eased coronavirus curbs.

Facility investment, however, shrank 0.7 percent last year compared with a 9 percent advance tallied a year earlier. Investment in construction contracted 3.5 percent, worse than a 1.6 percent decline a year earlier.

Government spending increased 4.2 percent last year, lower than the previous year's 5.6 percent advance.


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