Korea skyline

Korea GDP

Korea GDP

Economic Growth in Korea

South Korea's GDP growth from 2013-2022 was robust, driven by strong exports and technological advancements. The economy demonstrated resilience amid global trade tensions and regional geopolitical challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a temporary setback in 2020, but a swift recovery followed, underpinned by strong technology sectors and effective pandemic management. South Korea's growth trajectory reflected its successful transition to a high-value, innovation-driven economy.

The Korean economy recorded an average growth rate of 2.7% in the decade to 2022, which is below the 4.4% average for the Asia-Pacific region. In 2022, the real GDP growth was 2.6%. For more GDP information, visit our dedicated page.

Korea GDP Chart

Note: This chart displays Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %) for Korea from 2020 to 2019.
Source: Bank of Korea.

Korea GDP Data

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Economic Growth (GDP, ann. var. %) 2.9 2.2 -0.7 4.3 2.6
GDP (USD bn) 1,725 1,651 1,645 1,817 1,673
GDP (KRW tn) 1,898 1,924 1,941 2,080 2,162
Economic Growth (Nominal GDP, ann. var. %) 3.4 1.4 0.8 7.2 3.9

Economic growth remains robust in Q4

According to a preliminary reading, GDP growth was unchanged at Q3’s 0.6% increase on a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis in the fourth quarter. Q4's reading marked the joint-best result since Q2 2022. On an annual seasonally adjusted basis, economic growth accelerated to 2.2% in Q4 from the previous quarter's 1.4% expansion.

Household spending growth ebbed to 0.2% seasonally adjusted quarter on quarter in Q4 from a 0.3% expansion in Q3. Government consumption accelerated to a 0.4% increase in Q4 (Q3: +0.2% s.a. qoq). Meanwhile, fixed investment contracted 1.4% in Q4, marking the worst result since Q1 2022 (Q3: +0.5% s.a. qoq). On the external front, exports of goods and services increased 2.6% on a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis in the fourth quarter, which was below the third quarter's 3.4% expansion. In addition, imports of goods and services growth waned to 1.0% in Q4 (Q3: +2.3% s.a. qoq).

Our panelists expect quarter-on-quarter GDP growth to remain broadly stable throughout the year, leading to a total yearly expansion roughly double that seen in 2023; activity will be supported by a recovery in world trade. Downside risks include a surge in oil and gas costs amid regional wars. The health of China’s economy is a key factor to watch.

Analysts at Nomura said: “Elevated financial stress and growing evidence of weakening domestic demand suggest the domestic economy will remain a drag on growth, limiting the positive growth momentum in the export sector. Thus, as we remain cautious on the sustainability of export-led growth, we expect growth to slow sharply to 1.4% y-o-y in H2 after solid growth of 2.5% in H1.”

Consensus Forecasts and Projections for the next ten years

How should you choose a forecaster if some are too optimistic while others are too pessimistic? FocusEconomics collects Korean GDP projections for the next ten years from a panel of 32 analysts at the leading national, regional and global forecast institutions. These projections are then validated by our in-house team of economists and data analysts and averaged to provide one Consensus Forecast you can rely on for each indicator. By averaging all forecasts, upside and downside forecasting errors tend to cancel each other out, leading to the most reliable GDP forecast available for Korean GDP.

Download one of our sample reports to visualize what a Consensus Forecast is and see our Korean GDP projections.

Want to get access to the full dataset of Korean GDP forecasts? Send an email to info@focus-economics.com.

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