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Finance minister vows to front-load budget to boost economy

All Headlines 17:03 December 12, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new finance minister pledged Wednesday to front-load next year's budget to help boost Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said the move is meant to ensure that planned investments can be quickly carried out.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved a plan to front-load 281.4 trillion won(US$249 billion) in the first six months of next year as part of efforts to boost the economy.

The figure accounts for 70.4 percent of next year's planned spending of 399.8 trillion won based on tax revenue, according to the finance ministry.

His comments came amid concerns of an economic downturn.

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.

Separately, Statistics Korea said South Korea's jobless rate stood at 3.2 percent last month, up 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, attends a meeting of economy-related officials at a government building in central Seoul on Dec. 12, 2018.


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