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Novel coronavirus expected to weigh on S. Korea's economy: finance minister

All News 08:47 February 03, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus is expected to weigh on South Korea's economy unless the epidemic is contained swiftly, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Monday.

The coronavirus epidemic has had a limited impact on the Korean economy so far, but it is difficult to determine how the virus will affect the nation's economy, Hong told a meeting with economy-related ministers earlier in the day.

"There is a high possibility that this situation could slow China's economy," Hong said. "In this case, it will have a negative impact on the global economy."

The government will spare no efforts to minimize the economic fallout from the virus, Hong said.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki speaks at a meeting with economy-related ministers on Feb. 3, 2020. (Yonhap)

South Korea's exports fell at a slower-than-expected pace in January but extended the slump to a 14th-consecutive month due to fewer working days and still weak demand for chips.

Outbound shipments came to US$43.35 billion last month, down 6.1 percent from $46.17 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

But when measured by working days, exports increased 4.8 percent in January to reach $2 billion a day, marking the first on-year increase in 14 months, according to the ministry.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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