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S. Korea's economic recovery momentum gains traction: finance minister

Stacks of import-export cargo containers on June. 4 at South Korea's largest seaport in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)
Stacks of import-export cargo containers on June. 4 at South Korea's largest seaport in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)
The South Korean economy is seeing its recovery momentum gain traction on improving exports, the finance minister said Wednesday.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki also pledged the government's efforts to continue to prop up an economic recovery into the fourth quarter and next year.

"The South Korean economy shows that its recovery momentum has gained traction in the face of difficult conditions," Hong said at a meeting on the property market.

Asia's fourth-largest economy grew at a faster-than-estimated pace of 2.1 percent in the July-September period from three months earlier, according to central bank data.

The country's exports rebounded by rising 4 percent in November on-year on the back of robust sales of chips.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Tuesday forecast the Korean economy would retreat 1.1 percent this year, sharper than its September estimate of a 1 percent contraction.

But despite the downward revision, the OECD said the Korean economy is expected to contract by the smallest margin this year among its 37 member countries, citing the country's efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

"The country faces a grave situation due to the third wave of the pandemic. But it is time to muster strength with hopes that the economic recovery will continue," Hong said.

Meanwhile, the minister vowed to crack down on any illegal activity in the property market.

South Korea's housing prices showed no letup despite the government's efforts to curb rising home prices, including tax hikes and loan regulations. Prices of houses for rental recently spiked up as supplies dried up.

"The government will push for stabilizing the market under the principle that those who seek to disturb the property market will be punished," he said. (Yonhap)

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