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South Korea’s economy maintains modest growth

SEOUL (XINHUA) – South Korea’s economy maintained a modest growth trend despite the lingering external uncertainty, the state-run think tank said yesterday.

The Korea Development Institute (KDI) said in its monthly economic report that the manufacturing industry kept a modest growth trend while the services industry was less negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Production among manufacturers modestly recovered in December 2021 amid the continued demand for semiconductors, while output in the services industry was less impacted by the COVID-19 shock despite the weakness in the lodging and eatery sector, according to the KDI.

The country’s daily number of new COVID-19 cases broke records in recent weeks on the fast spread of the Omicron variant.

In the latest tally, South Korea reported 49,567 more COVID-19 cases for the past 24 hours, raising the total number of infections to 1,131,239. It was sharply up from 36,719 in the previous day.

The KDI noted that the January business sentiment improved especially among non-manufacturers while consumer sentiment was also enhanced in the month, saying it indicated the limited negative impact of the pandemic on the domestic economy.

The think tank, however, pointed out the remaining external uncertainties, such as the higher commodity price and the unstable global financial market.

The higher raw materials price led to South Korea’s deficit in global trade, while the high expectations for the United States (US) interest rate hike destabilized the global stock market, the KDI added.