S. Korea’s economic downturn easing despite persistent external uncertainties: gov’t

South Korea experienced a gradual softening of an economic downturn on signs of improvement in production and exports of semiconductors and the upbeat service sector though external uncertainties linger, the finance ministry said Friday.

"The economic slowdown has been gradually easing as the production and exports in the manufacturing field, led by the chip industry, have shown signs of improvement and the service sector and the job market continued to pick up," the Ministry of Economy and Finance said in the Green Book, its monthly economic assessment report.

The ministry has mentioned the easing of the economic slowdown in its monthly report since August.

Exports, a key economic growth engine for South Korea, fell for the 12th consecutive month in September but logged the smallest on-year decline so far this year.

Outbound shipments of semiconductors dropped 13.6 percent on-year to extend the losing run to the 14th month in a row. But September saw the highest monthly export value of $9.9 billion so far this year, according to government data.

The ministry, however, warned of lingering uncertainties caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, higher oil prices and the Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary tightening.

Touching on inflation, the ministry said the country has seen a gradual downtrend in prices, though consumer prices reported the highest on-year increase of 3.7 percent in five months in September.

The government forecast inflationary pressure would begin to ease around October. It set this year's target at a 3.3 percent rise.

"The government will thoroughly manage economic risks to ensure stability in the public's livelihoods," the report read. "We will make efforts to prop up domestic demand, investment and exports and to improve our economic fundamentals."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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