The Korea Herald


S. Korean economy grows 1.4 % in 2023, unchanged from earlier estimate: BOK

By Yonhap

Published : March 5, 2024 - 09:35

    • Link copied

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korea's economy grew 1.4 percent last year, matching an earlier estimate, amid sluggish exports and tightening monetary policies around the globe, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The country's real gross domestic product -- a key measure of economic growth -- increased 1.4 percent last year, in line with the central bank's earlier estimate in January, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea.

But last year's economic expansion marked a slowdown from a 2.6 percent advance in 2022 and 4.3 percent growth in 2021, and the lowest since a 0.7 percent contraction in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the final quarter of last year, Asia's fourth-largest economy advanced 0.6 percent on-quarter, also in line with an earlier estimate.

Asia's fourth-largest economy has been on a recovery pace since it contracted 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 in the face of aggressive monetary tightening in major countries, escalating geopolitical tensions, rising household debt and a slowdown in China's economy, the country's top trading partner.

Last month, the country's central bank froze its key rate for the ninth straight session at 3.5 percent amid woes over slower-than-expected inflation moderation and high household debts.

The rate freezes came after the BOK delivered seven consecutive rate hikes from April 2022 to January 2023.

The central bank said last year's expansion came as exports and domestic demand remained relatively sound.

The country's exports climbed 3.1 percent last year, slowing from the previous year's 3.4 percent gain, while imports also decelerated to 3.1 percent from 3.5 percent.

Exports have marked an on-year drop since October 2022 amid the global economic slowdown and aggressive monetary tightening by the United States and other major economies to bring inflation under control, although outbound shipments rebounded in September.

Private spending logged a 1.8 percent rise last year, compared with a 4.1 percent advance the previous year.

Government spending also slowed to 1.3 percent from 4 percent, and construction investment increased 1.3 percent last year, a turnaround from a 2.8 percent decline, according to the data.

Meanwhile, the country's per-capita gross national income stood at US$33,745 in 2023. The figure was up 2.6 percent higher than a year earlier, the data showed.

The per-capita GNI surpassed the $30,000 mark for the first time in 2017. (Yonhap)