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Finance minister raises economic growth estimate to 2.9 pct

South Korea's economy has moved into a recovery phase and may boast a 2.9 percent growth this year, the government said Sunday, urging parliament to pass stimulus-related bills to maintain the trend.

   Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said Sunday that Asia's fourth-largest economy has posted a 1.1 percent growth in the third quarter this year from three months earlier, implying the country's economy is moving toward recovery.

   "When such trend continues, (South Korea's) annual economic growth will hover far above a 2.7 percent rise estimated earlier this year," Hyun told Yonhap News Agency.

   South Korea's gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic performance, also expanded at an identical pace of 1.1 percent in the second quarter, according to data by the Bank of Korea.

   From a year earlier, the economy grew 3.3 percent in the July-September period, the fastest on-year growth in seven quarters, after gaining 2.3 percent on-year in the second quarter.

   The growth data, which hovered above market expectations, are underscoring the view that the South Korean economy is on the recovery track.

   Hyun said South Korea's economy will post a 2.9 percent on-year growth if it also maintains the 1.1 percent gain in the fourth quarter.

   Even if the fourth-quarter growth slows to 0.8 percent, the country will still post a 2.8 percent growth, 0.1 percentage point higher than the earlier estimate of 2.7 percent, Hyun added.

   "In order to maintain the growth, the National Assembly must promptly pass 102 pending bills related to revitalizing the economy and generating jobs," Hyun said. "The bills will promote investment, sparking more employment and consumption."

   "If bills related to boosting investment are not passed in parliament on time, the recovery trend may be slowed," another official from the finance ministry said. "Sparking private investment is vital, as the government is currently facing challenges in stimulus plans due to falling tax revenue." (Yonhap News)

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