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S. Korea vows to protect jobs as coronavirus clouds economic growth

All News 08:49 May 04, 2020

SEJONG, May 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance ministry said Monday it will spare no efforts to protect jobs as the coronavirus pandemic is expected to force the nation's economy to contract this year.

Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said a faster recovery from the coronavirus shocks is unlikely as South Korea's two largest trading partners, the United States and China, suffered sharp economic contractions in the first quarter.

A historic crash in global oil prices is expected to add uncertainties over global financial markets, Kim said.

"The government will make utmost efforts to create new jobs as it plans to start 'Korean-version New Deal' projects," Kim told a meeting with senior ministry officials.

Such projects will include job creations in large-scale technology and online medical services, Kim said.

S. Korea vows to protect jobs as coronavirus clouds economic growth - 1

Last week, the National Assembly approved a 12.2 trillion-won (US$10 billion) extra budget to fund emergency handouts for households to cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea's economy shrank 1.4 percent on-quarter in the first quarter of the year, marking the sharpest quarterly contraction since the last three months of 2008.

South Korea has promised relief packages worth some 240 trillion won to ease the economic fallout from the virus, with many analysts expecting the Bank of Korea (BOK) to cut its key rate again in the coming months.

In March, the BOK delivered its first emergency rate cut in over a decade, by slashing the policy rate by half a percentage point to send it below the 1 percent mark for the first time in its history.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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