Dec 6, 2012

South Korea - S. Korean growth slows to 3-year low

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SEOUL: South Korea's economy grew 0.1 per cent in the third quarter from the previous three months -- the slowest pace in more than three years, on shrinking investment and manufacturing, data showed Thursday.

The revised figure -- compared to 0.2 per cent growth predicted by the Bank of Korea in October -- was the same as the first quarter of 2009 when the South was hit by the global financial crisis.

On a year-on-year basis, gross domestic product -- the broadest measure of economic performance -- for July-September was up 1.5 per cent, compared to 2.3 per cent on-year gain in the second quarter.

Exports, which account for nearly half of Asia's fourth-largest economy, rose 2.8 per cent from the previous quarter due to robust overseas shipments of mobile devices and petrochemical products.

Consumer spending rose 0.7 per cent during the same period, picking up from the second quarter's 0.4-per cent gain, on increased spending on mobile phones and fuels.

But facility investment shrank 4.8 per cent from the previous quarter, worse than the central bank's earlier estimate in October, hitting key industries such as semiconductors and autos.

Manufacturing production also fell 0.4 per cent. Farming production, hit by recent storms and other natural disasters, tumbled 4.1 per cent from the second quarter.

Construction investment inched up 0.1 per cent, weaker than the central bank's earlier projection of a 0.2-per cent rise.

South Korea, with an export-led economy, tends to mirror the fortunes of the region, and its GDP numbers are often a harbinger of broader trends in Asia.

- AFP/ck

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