The South Korean economy grew 0.9 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier as exports and construction investment gained ground, the central bank said Thursday.
The first-quarter growth of Korea's gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic performance, matched the 0.9 percent on-quarter gain in the fourth quarter, according to the Bank of Korea.
From a year earlier, Asia's fourth-largest economy grew 3.9 percent in the first quarter after advancing 3.7 percent on-year in the fourth quarter. The first-quarter growth marked the fastest on-year gain since the first quarter of 2011.
"The pace of quarterly growth is seen as being on track for the yearly growth forecast (of 4 percent)," Jung Young-taek, director general of the BOK's economic statistics division, told reporters.
Jung said that the growth in consumer spending slowed last quarter from three months earlier due to one-off factors, citing unusually high temperatures that reduced demand for clothing and heating products.
The Korean economy is widely seen as on a recovery track, spurred by robust exports and improving domestic demand. The BOK's 2014 growth forecast was recently revised up to 4 percent from 3.8 percent following the 3 percent expansion in 2013.
The central bank froze the key interest rate at 2.5 percent for the 11th straight month in April when its new governor presided over his first policy meeting.
Exports, which account for around 50 percent of the GDP, climbed 1.7 percent on-quarter in the first quarter after rising 1.4 percent on-quarter in the previous quarter.
Private spending rose 0.3 percent on-quarter last quarter after advancing 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter.
Facility investment fell 1.3 percent last quarter from three months earlier, compared with a 5.6 percent on-quarter gain in the previous quarter. Construction investment increased 4.8 percent, compared with a 5.2 percent on-quarter contraction three months earlier, the BOK said.
Investment in intellectual property products, which includes research and development, jumped 7.5 percent on-quarter last quarter, up from a 1.8 percent gain in the fourth quarter. (Yonhap)