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ADB cuts growth outlook for S. Korea to 2.1 pct

All News 13:54 September 25, 2019

By Byun Duk-kun

SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has slashed its growth outlook for South Korea this year to 2.1 percent, the bank said in a report released Wednesday.

The latest outlook marks a sharp drop from April's 2.5 percent forecast.

The bank cited the country's poor economic performance and adverse external factors that apparently include the U.S.-China trade dispute.

The ADB also lowered its 2020 growth outlook for South Korea to 2.4 percent from the previous 2.5 percent.

The South Korean economy unexpectedly contracted 0.4 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier, before rebounding 1 percent in the second quarter of the year.

In the first half, the South Korean economy grew 1.9 percent from the same period last year.

The Philippines-based bank is the latest in a series of institutions that have sharply cut their growth forecasts for Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The Bank of Korea reduced its growth outlook from 2.5 percent to 2.2 percent in July amid the escalating U.S.-China trade dispute, which is partly responsible for a continuing decline in the country's exports that started in December.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also trimmed its growth outlook for the country to 2.1 percent last week, while global ratings appraiser Fitch Ratings put its growth estimate at 2 percent.

The ADB cited weak inflation pressure as a factor contributing to the country's slowing growth, slashing its inflation estimate for South Korea to 0.7 percent from 1.4 percent for the year.

South Korea's consumer prices have remained well below the 2 percent target set by the BOK for years, gaining only 0.5 percent on-year in the first eight months of this year.

Also in August, consumer prices remained unchanged from the same month last year, marking the slowest growth in the country's history.

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