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Korea spends 48% of 2017 budget through May

The South Korean government has used nearly half of its planned budget in the first five months of the year as part of its efforts to frontload spending to prop up the economy, the finance ministry said Thursday.

Budget spending by the government and public institutions for the January-May period stood at 135.3 trillion won ($118.7 billion), up 5.5 trillion won from the earlier target of 129.8 trillion won, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

It accounted for 48 percent of the 281.7 trillion won that the government has set aside for early fiscal execution out of the country's 400 trillion-won budget for 2017, the ministry said.

Some 20.1 trillion won was spent on social overhead capital projects, while 5.1 trillion won was used to create jobs.

The ministry said the government will expand its fiscal role in boosting domestic demand and easing the tightened job market.

Private consumption gained 0.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, slowing down from a 2.5 percent rise in 2016, while the country's exports have risen since November last year. The jobless rate for those aged between 15 and 29 reached 9.3 percent in May, far higher than the entire number of 3.6 percent.

"The South Korean economy has been on a recovery track in recent months on the back of brisk overseas sales, but domestic demand is still flaccid and the unemployment rate for young people is high," Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-jin said. "The government will take pre-emptive and positive fiscal policies to help the economy make a clear turnaround." (Yonhap)
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