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S. Korea targets 3.2% growth, housing market stabilization in 2021

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki delivers a New Year’s message at the government complex building in central Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki delivers a New Year’s message at the government complex building in central Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki on Monday reiterated the government’s commitment for economic growth of 3.2 percent this year and stressed its drive to stabilize soaring housing price at the same time.

Urging ministry officials to prepare for structural changes in the post COVID-19 era, Hong vowed to make all-out efforts to achieve the target of a 3.2 percent economic growth and to create 150,000 additional jobs this year.

“We must promote domestic consumption as much as possible under thorough virus containment work and actively implement 110 trillion won ($100 billion) of public-private investment projects,” he told ministry officials in a New Year’s message.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s growth projection for the country’s real gross domestic product is higher than what other government agencies and financial institutions estimate. The Bank of Korea forecasted that the real GDP would rebound 3.0 percent while the IMF and the OECD expected the Asia’s fourth-largest economy to grow 2.9 percent and 2.8 percent.

In order to achieve the goal, the minister said the government would support exporters by setting up virtual exhibitions and online platforms for real-time communication with overseas buyers. Drastic deregulation needs to be carried out as a way to stimulate employment creation in the private sector for young and middle-aged job seekers, he added.

On soaring house prices despite stringent measures rolled out last year, the minister said the government would mobilize all policy resources to stabilize the property market.

Last year alone, the average apartment price in Seoul soared 20.3 percent from 34 million won per 3.3 square meters to 40.4 million won, according to data released by KB Kookmin Bank Sunday.

“We should pay extra attention to the management of risk factors that could occur unexpectedly such as real estate, household debt, trade issues and population-related problems.”

To balance virus containment with economic growth, he promised prompt implementation of the government’s relief program tailored to those who suffered a severe blow due to the COVID-19 outbreak and improve inclusion.

“The government should meticulously prepare policies that could take care of those in financial difficulties and vulnerabilities,” he said.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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