Korea Economic Forecast

Korea Economic Outlook

September 19, 2017

Despite the economy’s resilient performance in Q2, available data from Q3 shows signs that growth may be abating. Although exports were healthy in August, Korea’s all-important external sector is expected to slow in the coming months. Moreover, a continued decline in Chinese tourism translated into job losses in tourism-related sectors in August. Also of concern are legislative measures to cool the housing market; given that financial conditions are tight, the market could see a correction heading into 2018. High household debt in particular is increasingly worrisome. In October, the government is expected to announce measures to tackle household debt, although these will likely thwart investment. Furthermore, in early September U.S. President Donald Trump announced he is reconsidering the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement, which came at an unfortunate time given the heightened geopolitical tensions with North Korea. Tensions with the North dragged on consumer confidence in August, which declined after six months of consecutive improvements.

Korea Economy Data

20122013201420152016
Population (million)50.050.250.451.051.2
GDP per capita (USD)24,54326,00426,81327,09627,535
GDP (USD bn)1,2271,3061,3521,3821,411
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)2.32.93.32.82.8
Consumption (annual variation in %)1.91.91.82.22.5
Investment (annual variation in %)-0.53.33.45.15.2
Industrial Production (annual variation in %)1.50.70.3-0.31.0
Retail Sales (annual variation in %)4.41.12.12.44.3
Unemployment Rate3.23.13.53.63.7
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)1.31.00.60.01.0
Public Debt (% of GDP)32.133.835.937.838.6
Money (annual variation in %)4.84.68.18.27.1
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)1.41.10.81.11.3
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)2.21.31.30.71.0
Inflation (PPI, annual variation in %)0.7-1.6-0.5-4.0-1.8
Policy Interest Rate (%)2.752.502.001.501.25
Stock Market (annual variation in %)9.40.7-4.82.43.3
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)1,1271,0951,0531,1321,160
Exchange Rate (vs USD)1,0711,0551,0991,1731,208
Current Account (% of GDP)4.16.26.07.77.0
Current Account Balance (USD bn)50.881.184.410698.7
Trade Balance (USD billion)28.344.047.290.389.2
Exports (USD billion)548560573527495
Imports (USD billion)520516526436406
Exports (annual variation in %)-1.32.12.3-8.0-5.9
Imports (annual variation in %)-0.9-0.81.9-16.9-6.9
International Reserves (USD)327346364368371
External Debt (% of GDP)33.332.431.428.727.0

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Korea Facts

ValueChangeDate
Bond Yield2.400.29 %Oct 16
Exchange Rate1,128-0.10 %Oct 16
Stock Market2,4800.26 %Oct 16

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Korea Economic Growth

September 19, 2017

The proposed 2018 budget, which includes a 4.6% increase in fiscal spending, is expected to give the economy a boost. However, headwinds for the external sector may weigh on the speed of economic growth in 2018. FocusEconomics panelists expect GDP to expand 2.8% in 2017. In 2018, the economy is forecast to grow 2.7%, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s estimate.

Korea Economic News

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