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South Korea's economy grew at decade-low pace in 2019 – Aljazeera.com

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Sagging exports and global trade tensions pulled South Korea’s annual growth rate last year to its lowest level since 2009, but a surge in government spending may have given the economy a boost in the last three months of 2019.

The slowdown comes as President Moon Jae-in’s administration increases fiscal spending and as the Bank of Korea (BOK) considers further stimulus to shield the economy from a global slowdown.

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The gross domestic product (GDP) increased by a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared with the previous three months, the BOK said on Wednesday.

It was the fastest expansion since the third quarter of 2017 and outperformed the median estimate of 0.8 percent in a survey by Reuters news agency.

“Government spending definitely was a boost as exports was a drag,” said Park Chong-hoon, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Seoul. “The prospect for exports is better this year with the US-China signing of the trade deal, and as China continues with its expansionary fiscal policies.”

Robust government spending on public infrastructure combined with better private consumption improved growth in the fourth quarter, but that did little to help exports, which made no contribution to the 1.2 percent expansion.

In the fourth quarter, private consumption increased 0.7 percent from three months earlier while construction investment jumped 6.3 percent.

Exports declined 0.1 percent in volume terms, reflecting the extended slump in shipments, which declined for a 13th consecutive month through December in year-on-year terms.

For the whole of 2019, the economy grew by 2 percent, the slowest pace in 10 years and matching the central bank’s projection.

“Of the 2 percent, the net government contribution to growth came to 1.5 percentage points, the biggest portion since 2009 but that didn’t change the fact that it was a hard year for Korea in terms of exports,” a central bank official said.

In a press briefing held after the GDP data release, another BOK official said the outbreak of a virus from central China has emerged as a fresh risk that could hurt consumer spending.

“With the case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), people didn’t go out much and travelled less, so spreading of the new virus may shrink consumption in that regard,” Park Yang-su, a director general at the BOK, said in response to a question about the virus.

South Korea in 2015 drew up a supplementary budget to help the economy cope with the effects of the outbreak of the MERS.

The virus in China, originating in the central city of Wuhan at the end of last year, has spread to Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere, with cases also confirmed in the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Nine deaths and 440 cases had been reported as at Wednesday morning in Asia.

SOURCE:
Reuters news agency

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Quebec can develop its economy and fight climate change, Legault says – Montreal Gazette

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Thunberg or Trump? Premier skates around question about whom he sides with as he heads off to economic summit in Davos.

QUEBEC — Don’t ask Premier François Legault to choose which climate change vision he believes in — the one backed by Greta Thunberg’s or that of U.S. President Donald Trump?

He’d rather not take sides.

Moments before taking a flight Tuesday to Davos, Switzerland — where Thunberg and Trump are already sparring over climate change at the World Economic Summit — Legault said he sees Quebec as somewhere in the middle of the kerfuffle.

“I am in the balanced clan,” Legault told reporters when asked whom he prefers. “I think we need to be able to create wealth in Quebec because we have some catching up to do, but we must make more effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

“I think we have to find a balance.”

The Coalition Avenir Québec was criticized during the 2018 election campaign for barely mentioning the environment and climate change. On Tuesday, Legault said industrialized countries like the United States and Asia must do more to save the planet.

Legault made the remarks just hours before heading to Davos. Quebec premiers have attended the summit for the last 30 years in an attempt to stimulate foreign investment in the province.

Legault’s economic pledge during the election campaign was to double private investment in Quebec. In a statement released after his departure Tuesday, Legault said he wants to make Quebec “the best place in the world to invest.”

The theme of the conference is Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.

Thunberg and Trump are already there, both making waves in their own manner.


Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg leaves the stage during a session at the 50th World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

DENIS BALIBOUSE /

REUTERS

In her remarks to the world’s business elite, Thunberg accused those gathered of being all talk, no action on climate change.

Her remarks contrasted with those of Trump. He used his speech to tout the benefits of soaring American oil and gas production and make a thinly veiled attack on those who warn about looming environmental catastrophe.

Legault will be at the summit until Jan. 24.

pauthier@postmedia.com

twitter.com/philipauthier

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Here are the facts behind 5 bold economic claims from Trump's speech at Davos : Trump made some eyebrow-r.. – INSIDER

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  • Trump extolled a newly confident America with a series of bold statements about the country’s economic performance throughout his presidency in his big speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
  • Many of those statements didn’t match economic reality or were wildly misleading.
  • Here are the facts related to five of Trump’s boldest claims.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Trump touted a newly resurgent America in his big speech at the World Economic Forun in Davos, Switzerland, making a series of bold claims in an address that echoed some of his talking points on the 2020 campaign trail.

Many of those assertions, though, didn’t match economic reality or were wildly misleading.

Trump said that the American economy was in “a dismal state” when he inherited it in 2017 and that US wealth inequality was tossed into the dustbin of history. He also asserted that he “saved” historically black colleges and universities and the US economy now is “the greatest” in US history.

Finally, he contended that the two trade deals he signed were “the biggest ever made.”

Here are the facts about five of Trump’s boldest claims made in Davos.

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Trump Goes To Davos To Boast About U.S. Economy, But Avoids Climate Change – NPR

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President Trump is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week. He boasted about the strength of the U.S. economy, but said little about the event’s main focus: climate change.

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