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South Korea's central bank lowers 2012 growth outlook

South Korea,Business/Economy, Mon, 16 Apr 2012 IANS

Seoul, April 16 (IANS) South Korea's central bank Monday lowered its economic growth outlook for 2012 to 3.5 percent from an earlier estimate of 3.7 percent due to deteriorating terms of trading and slower export growth amid the lingering uncertainties in the euro area.


The Bank of Korea (BOK) revised down its outlook for the country's 2012 gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 3.5 percent, down from 3.7 percent estimated in December last year, reported Xinhua.


The BOK forecast that private consumption will grow steadily along with the increase in households' real purchasing power, but the bank warned that its growth rate was cut to 2.8 percent from last December's forecast of 3.2 percent due mainly to deteriorating terms of trade.


Forecast for goods export growth was lowered to 4.8 percent from an earlier forecast of 5 percent due to cooling of global trade arising from the economic recession in the euro area. Facilities investment was expected to show rapid growth, but construction investment was forecast to post a mode growth in 2012.


Asia's No.4 economy was projected to grow 3 percent in the first half of this year, but the growth rate was forecast to jump to 3.9 percent in the second half. The BOK placed its 2013 growth outlook at 4.2 percent.


Meanwhile, the BOK also cut its consumer price inflation outlook for 2012 to 3.2 percent from 3.3 percent estimated in December last year.


The downward revision was attributed to the South Korean government's support for childcare fees and an expansion in free school meal programme that were projected to pull down the headline inflation by around 0.4 percentage points this year. The delayed increase in public service charges was also picked as a consumer price stabilizing sector.


The current account surplus was projected to shrink to $14.5 billion in 2012 from last year's $26.5 billion. For 2013, the surplus was forecast to contract to $12.5 billion.


Labour market was expected to show better performance in 2012 than last December's estimation. The number of people employed was predicted to grow by 350,000 people this year, revised up from an earlier estimate of a 280,000 growth. The outlook for jobless rate was cut to 3.3 percent from 3.4 percent estimated in December last year.


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