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Weak exports, construction investment continue to weigh on economy: report


Sluggish exports and weaker construction investment continued to weigh on South Korea's economy, despite a solid gain in service output and consumption, a government report showed on Friday. 

In its monthly economic assessment report, the finance ministry said market sentiment improved after the United States and China signed an initial trade deal, but uncertainties linger on prospects for a second phase of the US-China trade deal. 

"Exports and construction investment are still in correction territory, although service output and consumption report a modest rise," the ministry said in the report. 

"The government will strengthen its risk management and work to implement fiscal measures as planned," the report said. 

The report -- called the "Green Book" -- is based on a set of the latest indicators of output, exports, consumption and corporate investment, which serves as a snapshot of the economy's performance in recent months. 

South Korea's economy is expected to have suffered its weakest annual growth in a decade last year, hit by a lengthy US-China trade war and a cyclical slump in the memory chip sector.  South Korea's exports fell 10.3 percent on-year in 2019 to $542.4 billion, according to government data. 

For December last year, the monthly exports slipped 5.2 percent on-year to $45.7 billion to extend their slump to a whopping 13th consecutive month. However, this year's outbound shipments are forecast to rise 3 percent.  The economy, Asia's fourth-largest, is expected to grow 2.4 percent this year, following last year's estimated 2 percent expansion, on the back of an anticipated recovery in the memory chip sector and a series of policy measures. (Yonhap)

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