2003 OECD Economic Surveys: Korea 2003

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This 2003 edition of OECD's periodic review of Korea's economy  examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects and includes special features on reforming the public expenditure system and structural reform.

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Recent Trends and Prospects

Economic growth decelerated from 9 per cent in 2000 to 3 per cent in 2001 in the context of a marked slowdown in the world economy (Figure 1). However, Korea’s first downturn since the 1997 financial crisis was short-lived, thanks to robust private consumption and a rebound in construction investment, which led to a recovery beginning in the final quarter of 2001. The strong growth in these two components was driven by buoyant bank lending, reflecting success in overcoming credit-crunch conditions through a comprehensive financial-sector restructuring programme. In addition, supportive macroeconomic policies played an important role in Korea’s early recovery (see Chapter II). Economic growth accelerated to 6 per cent (year-on-year) in the first three quarters of 2002, despite weak investment in machinery and equipment and exports in the early part of the year. However, by mid-2002, exports had also rebounded, led by the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

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