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Economic uncertainty persists amid protracted pandemic: finance ministry

All News 10:00 February 19, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean economy faces lingering uncertainty as domestic demand and the job market remain sluggish amid a flare-up in new coronavirus cases, the finance ministry said Friday.

The manufacturing sector and investment are improving amid robust exports, but the service segment is suffering setbacks amid the third wave of the pandemic, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

"The real economy faces persistent uncertainty as domestic demand remains sluggish and job data point to sharp slumps, affected by a resurgence in COVID-19 and tougher virus curbs," the ministry said in a monthly economic report, called the Green Book.

This file photo, taken Jan. 29, 2021, shows a closed for business sign due to the pandemic at a store in Seoul's shopping district of Myeongdong. (Yonhap)

South Korea's exports grew 11.4 percent on-year in January on the back of brisk demand for chips and autos.

The country's industrial output, consumption and investment increased on-month in December in the latest sign that the economy is on a recovery track amid the pandemic.

But service output declined 1.1 percent on-month in December as the new coronavirus outbreak dealt a severe blow to the sectors that provide face-to-face services.

The country's job market remains in limbo, stung by the protracted pandemic, with the nation reporting job losses for the 11th straight month in January.

Last month, the country shed 982,000 jobs on-year, the largest in 22 years.

The ministry said despite economic uncertainty, anticipation for a global economic recovery is growing, helped by COVID-19 vaccination drives and major countries' massive economic stimulus packages.


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