Builders’ domestic orders gain 15 pct in

SEOUL-- South Korean construction companies' domestic orders rose nearly 15 percent on-year in the first half of the year on a robust housing market and increased fiscal spending, a trade group said Friday.

According to the Construction Association of Korea, local builders clinched orders worth a combined 79.3 trillion won (US$69.5 billion) in the January-June period, up 14.8 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The first-half figure accounted for 48 percent of the 164.8 trillion won in orders for all of last year.

Orders won from the private sector climbed 12.6 percent on-year to 56.7 trillion won during the six-month period, with those from the public sector surging 20.9 percent to 22.6 trillion won.

The association attributed the robust first-half performance to the government's frontloading of its budget, as well as a boom in the local housing market.

But it painted a gloomy picture of the construction industry for the second half, saying the latest government anti-speculation measures are feared to dampen the local housing and property markets.

Early this month, the government unveiled a package of measures to cool the overheated housing market, including the designation of areas under close state scrutiny, tougher mortgage rules and heavier capital gains taxes.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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