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S. Korea's GDP per capita narrows gap with Japan

All Headlines 14:15 March 01, 2016

SEOUL, March 1 (Yonhap) - The gap between South Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and that of Japan narrowed in 2015, mainly due to Asia's No. 2 economy continuing to wrestle with a prolonged slump, a report by a local economic think tank showed Tuesday.

South Korea's GDP, which came to US$27,226 in 2015, is equal to 84 percent of the $32,432 posted by Japan, data compiled by Hyundai Research Institute (HRI) showed. The think tank's findings are based on data compiled by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The latest numbers mark the first time that the per capita gap fell below the 20-percent mark since related data started to be compiled in 1981.

Seoul's GDP for 2015 marked a 2.6 percent drop on-year, but corresponding figures for Japan crashed 10.5 percent compared to the year before, the data showed.

The think tank said Japan's slump in its per capita GDP came as the Japanese yen continued to lose ground in the global foreign exchange market after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in 2012.

South Korea's GDP per capita is expected to hover above $30,000 next year, and could reach $36,750 in 2020. For Japan, its per capita GDP is forecast to reach $34,486 in 2017 and $38,174 in 2020, the IMF data showed.

Accordingly, South Korea's GDP per capita for 2020 may be equal to 96 percent of Japan's.

"Should South Korea post a faster economic growth compared to Japan, and if the Japanese yen continues to remain weak, South Korea's GDP per capital is expected to outpace Japan in the near future," the economic research institute said.

colin@yna.co.kr
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