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Finance minister notes improvement, but says recovery still uncertain

All Headlines 16:58 April 07, 2016

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance minister noted the local economy was showing signs of improvement Thursday, but said whether such improvements will be maintained still needs to be seen.

Pointing to the recent slowdown in the rate of a cut in the country's exports, Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said Asia's fourth-largest economy appeared to be on a recovery path.

"The rate of drop in exports has recently slowed while recent increases in industrial output, consumption and economic sentiments indicate a positive shift to recovery from a slump witnessed at the beginning of the year," Yoo said at a weekly meeting of economy-related ministers held in Seoul.

In January, the country's outbound shipments plunged 18.5 percent from the same month last year, marking the fastest on-year drop rate in over five years since August 2009.

The rate of drop slowed to a 12.2 percent on-year dip in February, and then again to an 8.2 percent drop last month.

Yoo urged stepped up efforts to revitalize the local economy, saying economic conditions at home and abroad continued to remain gloomy.

"We must not let our guard down, as we cannot say for certain that the recent positive signs will continue," he told the meeting.

The finance minister cited a need to further remove China's non-tariff or technical barriers to trade, which he has called a key obstacle blocking South Korean goods from the world's largest market.

Yoo, who also wears the hat of vice prime minister for economy, also called for additional efforts to boost exports of cultural content, noting the recent success of the locally produced TV series "Descendants of the Sun."

His call came as Thursday's meeting of economic ministers discussed ways to boost exports of cultural products to other Asian countries, which included setting up a new support office in Jakarta, Indonesia to help increase the distribution of Korean cultural products, along with additional legal and administrative support for local businesses engaged in such activities.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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