The South Korean finance minister has announced that the country’s economy is expected to expand its recovery momentum due to the accelerated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and efforts to gradually return to normal life.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki did so on Tuesday (local time) at his meeting with Marie Diron, Managing Director of the Sovereign Risk Group at global credit appraiser Moody’s Investors Service, in London, according to the Treasury Department.
The meeting was held to discuss the economic situation in South Korea when Hong visited London for an investor relations meeting with global investment banks.
Hong said the government will mobilize all political means to meet its economic growth target of 4.2 percent for 2021 to support the momentum of economic recovery, the ministry said.
On Monday, South Korea began implementing the “Living With COVID-19” program to gradually remove antivirus restrictions for a return to normal life. As part of the program, COVID-19, like seasonal influenza, is treated as a contagious respiratory disease with eased virus restrictions.
The country’s economic growth slowed in the third quarter, up 0.3 percent from the previous quarter from 0.8 percent in the second quarter due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. However, the government believes that with social distancing rules relaxed, consumer spending is likely to rebound.
The minister also said that South Korea’s fiscal health remains solid compared to major economies, but plans to make efforts to improve financial health in the face of rapid aging and rising social costs.
The government proposed a record high budget of 604.4 trillion won ($ 513.7 billion) for the next year to maintain its expansionary fiscal policy. The national debt is expected to reach 1,068.3 trillion won next year and the debt ratio is estimated to reach 50.2 percent by the ministry.
In May, Moody’s kept its credit rating for South Korea at “Aa2”, the third highest level in the company table, with a stable outlook.
The government plans to hold its annual consultation with Moody’s in the first half of next year. (Yonhap)