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(LEAD) Coronavirus batters S. Korea's demand, employment, exports: finance ministry

All News 13:48 April 17, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS vice finance minister's remarks, details in paras 7-9)

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- The coronavirus pandemic has battered South Korea's domestic demand, job market and exports, with uncertainties from the highly contagious virus still expanding, the finance ministry said Friday.

In a monthly report, called Green Book, the Ministry of Economy and Finance painted a bleaker picture of the economic impact from the virus pandemic compared with its March report.

"With domestic consumption continuing to shrink, employment indices sharply declined and uncertainties surrounding exports grew," the report said.

"Economic sentiment contracted and there are growing uncertainties on the real economy and financial markets," it said.

Earlier in the day, Statistics Korea said the nation reported its first on-year job loss since 2009 in March, as the coronavirus pandemic began inflicting damage on the job market.

The nation lost about 195,000 jobs last month, marking the sharpest monthly decline since May 2009, when it lost some 240,000 jobs, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said the government will review additional measures to support the airline, tourism and shipping industries, which have taken a big hit from the pandemic.

In February, the government extended 300 billion won (US$246 million) of liquidity to domestic low-cost carriers, but the nation's airline industry has called for the government to give more financial support.

The government is also drawing up plans on how to use the bond market stabilization fund, Kim said, adding that the amount of corporate bonds set to mature next week will rise to about 540 billion won.

South Korea's exports fell 0.2 percent in March from a year earlier in the face of the growing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

In the first 10 days of April, however, the nation's exports tumbled 18.6 percent on-year.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that South Korea's economy will shrink 1.2 percent this year as the global economy is expected to hit its worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s over the pandemic.

The world economy is expected to contract 3 percent this year, the IMF said.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance's Green Book (Yonhap)


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