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(LEAD) Finance minister calls for investment and job creation

All News 14:49 December 11, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with details)

SEJONG, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new finance minister on Tuesday urged companies to make investments and take the lead in creating jobs as the country makes every effort to bolster economic growth.

In October, the Bank of Korea trimmed its economic growth outlook to 2.7 percent for 2018 from its earlier projection of 2.9 percent. It is lower than the finance ministry's 2.9 percent outlook and the International Monetary Fund's 2.8 percent prediction.

The South Korean economy grew 3.1 percent in 2017 and 2.9 percent in 2016.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, pressed companies to do their parts, noting that the government will continue to prime the pump for economic revitalization.

"Let's ensure that companies make investments and create jobs with confidence under a fair rule," Hong said his inaugural speech in Sejong City, central South Korea.

Hong's appeal came as South Korean companies slashed facility investments amid increased uncertainties over a trade war and an economic downturn.

The state-run Korea Development Bank said corporate facility investments could reach 181.5 trillion won (US$160.6 billion) this year, down 4.4 percent from a year earlier, citing a recent survey of 3,100 local companies.

Hong called on officials not to let their guard down, saying there is a possibility that economic conditions could get worse at home and abroad next year.

"The path that we will walk will never be smooth," Hong said.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, delivers his inaugural speech in a government building in Sejong, central South Korea, on Dec. 11, 2018. (Yonhap)


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