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Moon sees stronger Korea recovery in 2021 than earlier expected

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a live interview with public broadcaster KBS at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on May 9, a day before the second anniversary of his taking office. (Yonhap) Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Mar 22, 2021, Bloomberg. South Korea’s economy will probably rebound “faster and stronger” this year than earlier expected as exports and investment rise, President Moon Jae-in said, Bloomberg reported.

Moon’s comments Monday reflect his growing confidence in an economic recovery as global trade rebounds and benefits the export-dependent economy. The president also said employment may improve in March above last year’s levels, and noted an uptick in consumption.

Customs office data earlier Monday showed Korean exports are set for another strong monthly rise, as chips and cars helped drive an overall 12.5% gain in shipments in the first 20 days of March.

Moon didn’t give his forecast for economic growth in the meeting with top aides. The Finance Ministry’s latest forecast in December is for a 3.2% expansion in 2021, while the Bank of Korea sees 3% growth.

Korea will prepare ways to stimulate the economy as its vaccination efforts make progress and outbreaks stabilize, Moon added. The president last month said the nation may consider cash handouts to all citizens when the pandemic eases.

Korea started inoculating its population late February and is reporting several hundreds of infections each day.

Employment is improving after hitting a trough in January, while the consumption slump is showing signs of easing as social distancing restrictions are relaxed, Moon said.

Korea has seen job losses every month since March last year. The jobless rate slid to 4% in February from a two-decade high of 5.4% in January, as the government resumed job-creation programs and curbs on business operations were eased.

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