Published : 2013-09-04 10:06
Updated : 2013-09-04 10:43
South Korea ranked 117th in terms of economic growth last year, data showed Wednesday, apparently as the protracted slump in the global economy dealt a harsh blow to the export-reliant country.
South Korea's real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2 percent in 2012, with its ranking falling 60 notches from two years earlier, according to the World Fact Book released by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Asia's fourth-largest economy grew 6.3 percent to rank 57th among 189 countries in 2010, but it slowed to reach 3.6 percent in 2011 to rank 102nd.
South Korea's economic-growth ranking also lost ground among 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development by coming in at 10th last year, down eight notches from two years earlier.
Market watchers said the country's slowing growth is attributable to the eurozone's fiscal crisis and an economic slump in China that weighed down on local exporters. China is South Korea's biggest trading partner.
"As South Korea landed into a low-growth pace and lacks market momentum, it is unlikely that the country's economy will grow at a fast pace like in previous years," said Lim Noh-joong, an analyst at I'M Investment & Securities Co.
"Meanwhile, the country is expected to post an economic growth of 2.8 percent this year as projected by the Bank of Korea, or even up to 3 percent on signs of improvement in exports," Lim added.
South Korea's trade surplus widened from a year earlier last month as the growth of its exports significantly outpaced that of its imports.
In August, the country's outbound shipments came to about $46.36 billion, up 7.7 percent from the same month last year, while its imports only inched up 0.8 percent on-year to some $41.45 billion, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Libya topped the World Fact Book's list at 104.5 percent, due mainly to abated concerns over its political unrest. Sierra Leone ranked second with 19.8 percent, trailed by Mongolia with 12.3 percent and Niger with 11.2 percent. (Yonhap News)