South Korea sets 2016 growth outlook at 3.1 percent

Seoul, Dec 16 (IANS) South Korea’s finance ministry on Wednesday set its 2016 growth outlook at 3.1 percent, lower than its earlier estimate of 3.3 percent.

The ministry also revised down its 2015 growth forecast from 3.1 percent to 2.7 percent, Xinhua reported.

Private consumption is expected to grow 2.4 percent in 2016 thanks to low interest rates and cheaper oil, and facility investment is forecast to increase 4.4 percent next year, contributing to next year’s economic expansion.

Exports, which account for about half of the economy, are predicted to rise 2.1 percent next year amid uncertainties caused by interest rate hike in the US.

Domestically, consumption momentum is expected to weaken due to aging population and massive household debts along with weaker competitiveness of major manufacturing industries.

The ministry unveiled its 2016 outlook for the current economic growth rate at 4.5 percent, lower than this year’s forecast of five percent.

The current growth rate means real GDP growth rate reflecting headline inflation, indicating that the ministry will make efforts to boost the low consumer price inflation as well as economic growth.

Outlook for 2016 headline inflation was revised up to 1.5 percent from earlier estimate of 1.2 percent.

Imports are forecast to increase 2.6 percent in 2016, sending the current account surplus outlook to $98 billion. It was up from the previous forecast of $88 billion.

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