Finance minister calls for concerted efforts to overcome difficulties

South Korea's finance minister said Friday that he is confident that any difficulties and headwinds that the country's economy is now facing can be overcome through concerted efforts of the people.

"The South Korean economy has undergone hardship for decades, but we have successfully overcome some big economic crises in union," Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said in his new year's message. "In 2017, we may still face strong headwinds, but we can repeat the feat and see the bright future of the South Korean economy."

He said future U.S. rate hikes and a policy change of the new Donald Trump government will fuel global uncertainties next year, while Asia's fourth-largest economy is dealing with a structural transition in social and industrial sectors through corporate restructuring and a decreasing working population.

"The government will do its best to prop up the economy, stabilize the livelihoods of ordinary people and carry out corporate reform next year," the top economic policymaker said.

Earlier this week, the finance ministry cut its growth forecast for 2017 to 2.6 percent from 3 percent, citing a slowdown in domestic demand.

In order to reach the target growth, the government said it will remain expansionary next year and spend nearly 70 percent of a record 400 trillion-won (US$333.2 billion) budget earmarked for 2017 in the first half to pump-prime the economy from the beginning of the year.

The finance minister also hinted at drawing up a supplementary budget before June if the economy fails to get on the right track.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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