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S. Korea's economic growth slows on weak exports: KDI

05-06-2012 12:02 BJT

SEOUL, May 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's economic growth slowed recently due to weak exports caused by Europe's debt crisis and the region's economic downturn, a state-run think tank said Sunday.

"Our economy recently saw its growth trend delayed somewhat due to slowing exports mainly to the European Union (EU) member countries," the Korea Development Institute (KDI) said in its monthly report on economic conditions.

South Korea's trade surplus reached 2.15 billion dollars in April, but it was down from a surplus of 2.45 billion dollars for March. Exports contracted 4.7 percent on-year in April, posting the on-year decline for two months in a row.

Exports to the United States increased 5.6 percent on-year last month, but shipments to the EU and Japan tumbled 16.7 percent and 11.3 percent respectively.

The South Korean economy, which heavily depends on overseas demand, seemed to start being affected by weak exports. Output in the mining and manufacturing sectors merely grew 0.3 percent in March from a year earlier, sharply down from a 14.3 percent on- year expansion tallied in the previous month.

Production in the service industry advanced 1.4 percent on-year in March, but it was down from a 5.6 percent growth for February. Retail sales were unchanged in March from a year before, lower than a 5.4 percent on-year gain for February.

Meanwhile, consumer price inflation continued to ease due to slower prices hikes in manufactured goods, the think tank said. Consumer prices advanced 2.5 percent in April from a year earlier, the lowest in 21 months and down from a 2.6 percent on-year gain in the previous month. Prices for manufactured goods rose 3.8 percent on-year in April, down from a 4 percent gain tallied in March.

Touching on external risks, the KDI said that global economy showed a modest recovery picture driven by some advanced nations, but it noted that there remained downside risks such as the euro area's economic downturn and slower growth in emerging economies.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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