News / Economy

South Korea Pushes $40 Billion Stimulus Package

People walk on a shopping street in Seoul, South Korea, July 10, 2014.
People walk on a shopping street in Seoul, South Korea, July 10, 2014.
VOA News

South Korea unveiled a $40 billion stimulus package Thursday as the finance minister warned of a risk of recession after Asia's fourth-largest economy grew at its slowest rate for more than a year in the second quarter.

Citing sluggish domestic demand in the wake of a devastating ferry disaster in April, the finance ministry cut its forecast for economic expansion in 2014 to 3.7 from 4.1 percent.

The finance ministry's plans included additional spending of 11.7 trillion won ($11.4 billion) from the fiscal and quasi-fiscal accounts, 26 trillion won of loans or other financial support and easing in mortgage borrowing restrictions.

The central bank separately unveiled a plan to create a 3 trillion won lending facility, based on which banks can lend up to 12 trillion won with low interest rates to support corporate investment in production facilities within the country.

The lion's share will be spent in the remainder of this year, with 3.0 trillion won earmarked for the beginning of 2015, the ministry said in a statement.

All-out efforts

President Park Geun-hye has called for all-out efforts to boost the economy and Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan promised to take massive action, which investors believe will pressure the central bank to cut interest rates as soon as next month.

“The government's will to improve the economy is quite strong and there is a social understanding right now that the economy has to be supported. I feel that the measures will work,” said Kim Jong-su, economist at Taurus Investment & Securities.

“In the past, the government would focus its strength on one policy or another, but right now it is pulling in everything from all possible points.”

South Korea, which relies heavily on exports, has been dragged down by a slower-than-expected recovery in global demand, while domestic consumption has been fragile, partly as a result of the ferry sinking that hurt tourism and services.

South Korea's economy grew 0.6 percent in the April-June period over the prior quarter, data showed earlier on Thursday, the slowest growth since the first quarter of 2013, missing market expectations by about 0.7 percent.

The Bank of Korea data showed private consumption fell a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in the second quarter after edging up 0.2 percent in the January-March period. Capital investment rose 1.3 percent after a 1.9 percent decline.

It was the worst fall in private consumption since the third quarter of 2011 and only the second quarterly loss since then.

Ferry accident

The Sewol ferry sank on April 16, killing more than 300 people in the country's worst maritime accident in two decades. That led to massive cancelations of tour contracts across the country, badly affecting all businesses serving tourists.

Private consumption generates about half of South Korea's gross domestic product but the economy still relies heavily on exporters as their performance has a strong influence on jobs and investment within the country.

The latest growth data likely boost expectation that the Bank of Korea will cut its key interest rate as soon as next month. The bank has kept its benchmark interest rate at 2.5 percent since May, 2013. 

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8893
JPY
USD
118.31
GBP
USD
0.6660
CAD
USD
1.2459
INR
USD
61.427

Rates may not be current.