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S. Korea's economic recovery to remain sound despite delta variant: BOK chief

Economy 08:30 September 02, 2021

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's economic recovery is expected to remain solid as exports have shown signs of a strong rebound, the head of the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Thursday, although a surge in delta variant infections has shaken the nation's containment efforts.

"Our economy showed a faster-than-expected growth in the first half, helped by active policy measures and a global economic recovery," BOK Gov. Lee Ju-yeol told a forum on post-pandemic issues.

"Although the spread of the delta variant has recently continued, the economy's recovery is expected to remain sound due to solid exports and an expansion of vaccinations," Lee said.

South Korea's exports rose 35 percent on year to US$53.2 billion last month, extending their gains to 10 months.

Imports climbed 44 percent to $51.5 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $1.67 billion. It marked the 16th consecutive month for the country to post a trade surplus.

Last week, the BOK delivered its first pandemic-era rate hike to fight rising inflation and rein in surging household debts, ending 15 months of record low interest rates as the economy showed signs of improving.

Raising the key rate, the BOK kept this year's growth outlook at 4 percent, while lifting its 2021 inflation outlook to 2.1 percent from 1.8 percent projected in May.

To help prop up the pandemic-hit economy, the government unveiled a record 604.4 trillion-won (US$521 billion) budget plan for 2022.

Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol (C) presides over a Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Seoul on Aug. 26, 2021, to decide the key rate for this month, in this photo provided by the central bank. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kdh@yna.co.kr
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