SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top economic policymaker said Wednesday the 2022 economic policy will be focused on supporting pandemic-hit small merchants and helping the country's economy pull off a full recovery.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki made the remarks at a meeting with heads of major economic institutes and experts from investment banks over the government's economic policy for next year.
"Next year, we should make efforts to help the Korean economy pull off a complete recovery and put it on an upgraded new growth path," Hong said.
The government plans to unveil its revised economic outlook for next year and the economic policy in late December.
The minister said the government is considering measures to help small merchants and vulnerable people hit by the pandemic for their full recovery. It is also mulling ways to narrow income gaps and strengthen social safety nets.
Asia's fourth-largest economy is on a modest recovery track on the back of robust exports.
The finance ministry forecast the Korean economy will likely grow 3 percent in 2022 after expanding an estimated 4.2 percent this year.
But the latest spike in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the new omicron variant are casting a cloud over the recovery of private spending.
South Korea reported 7,175 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday, raising the total to 489,484. It added two more omicron infections, bringing the total to 38.
Hong cited quarantine challenges from the upsurge in COVID-19 cases and an increase in omicron infections as one of the top headwinds facing the country next year.
He said the government is exploring an optimized policy mix to balance quarantine efforts and its move to support the economic recovery.
The minister also said the government will focus on stabilizing rising inflation and curbing household debt next year.
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