|Deputy Prime Minister Hyun Oh-seok (Yonhap)|
“Signs of economic recovery are spreading to all business sectors,” Hyun said in his meeting with business chief executives at the Korea International Trade Association.
His remarks came during his unveiling of details of the state-led, three-year economic revitalization plan to the participants.
The three-year plan, which was officially announced Tuesday, aims at boosting the nation’s economy to grow 3.9 percent this year, following last year’s 2.8 percent within the next three years.
To back his optimistic economic analysis, the finance minister quoted the industrial index report by Statistics Korea, which showed that industrial production in January rose by 1.4 percent from last December.
This marked the fourth consecutive month that the output increased on a month-to-month basis.
Also, production also increased in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity sectors, though the growth rate was a mere 0.1 percent.
“Though the Lunar New Year Holiday (in January) pulled down the numbers to a certain extent, the economy’s recovery trend was visible in all industrial sectors,” the report said.
Also on Friday, the Bank of Korea announced its monthly index for local manufacturing business and said that the business survey index, or BSI, marked 78, which was up two points from the previous month.
The figure is expected to grow further to 85 next month, indicating that a rising number of companies have hopeful perspectives on the economy. A BSI benchmark figure of 100 signifies that the number of optimistic companies equals that of pessimistic companies.
Such improvement is attributable to the recovery of the exchange rate and the resulting rebound of exports, according to officials.
Manufacturing output was stagnant, as the conventionally strong semiconductor and electricity equipment sectors shrank, according to Statistics Korea.
In his speech, the vice prime minister also pledged to reinforce competitiveness in public industries such as the railway system.
“Railway operations should be public and competitive at the same time,” Hyun said, stressing the need to break down the current state-run operator KORAIL and establish subsidiaries.
He also said that illegal union strikes would be regulated strictly in accordance with legal principles.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)