S. Korea’s finance minister vows efforts for economic recovery

WASHINGTON-- South Korea's finance minister pledged on Saturday (local time) to step up policy efforts to help Asia's fourth-largest economy gather upward momentum in the midst of a global recovery.

In a meeting with Moody's officials, Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said the South Korean government will focus its fiscal policies on boosting consumption and investment and make constant efforts to deal with external and internal risks such as household debts, rising trade protectionism and geopolitical issues.

He also said the country will manage to carry out sweeping reform in the corporate sector and solidify growth potential by actively coping with structural challenges such as low fertility and technology-driven industrial changes.

The minister, who also doubles as the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, is on a week-long trip to the United States to attend the Group of 20 finance ministers meeting.

Alastair Wilson, in charge of global sovereign rating at Moody's, said there are positive signs that the South Korean economy is on a recovery track.

Recently, international agencies and think tanks revised up their 2017 economic growth forecast for South Korea thanks to clear signs of a turnaround in the global economy.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected South Korea to expand 2.7 percent in 2017, up 0.1 percentage point from its earlier outlook. The Korea Development Institute, a state-run think tank, upgraded its estimate to 2.6 percent from 2.4 percent, and the Bank of Korea also raised its outlook 0.1 percentage point to 2.6 percent for 2017.

Earlier, Moody's kept its rating on South Korea at a record high of Aa2, with a stable rating outlook. Aa2 is the third-highest rating on the credit table, with only six other countries out of the Group of 20 advanced and developing nations currently holding that rating.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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