By Koh Byung-joon
SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s economy grew at the same pace as earlier forecast in the third quarter of the year despite better-than-expected private consumption and robust exports, central bank data showed Thursday.
The country’s gross domestic product adjusted for inflation grew 0.3 percent in the July-September period, compared with three months earlier, according to the preliminary data by the Bank of Korea (BOK).
This is the same as the earlier estimate the central bank announced in late October. Annualized economic growth in the third quarter stood at 4 percent, also unchanged from what was previously estimated.
The on-quarter growth slowed from the 0.8 percent tallied in the second quarter.
The deceleration raised concerns that the country might not be able to achieve its annual growth target of 4 percent for this year amid the prolonged fight against the coronavirus pandemic and global supply chain disruptions.
Last week, the BOK kept its 2021 growth outlook at 4 percent, unchanged from its August projection, while raising its key interest rate by a quarter parentage point to tame inflation and household debt.
Consumption and investment remained weak, weighing on the pandemic-hit economy.
Private consumption declined 0.2 percent in the third quarter compared with three months earlier, though the figure was 0.1 percentage point higher than its October estimate.
Investment in construction shrank 3.5 percent, which was 0.5 percentage point lower than previously estimated. Facility investment also declined 2.4 percent due in part to global supply disruptions, down 0.1 percentage point from its October estimate.
Exports remained strong, propping up the economic growth. Overseas shipments grew 1.8 percent on-quarter in the third quarter, which was 0.3 percentage point better than previously estimated, the data showed.