Seoul – South Korea’s economy grew at its fastest pace in three years in 2017, the central bank said, thanks to robust exports of tech products including semiconductors and growing consumer spending.
The South – the world’s 11th-largest economy and fourth-largest in Asia – expanded 3.1 percent last year, up from 2.8 percent in 2016 and the fastest since 2014’s 3.3 percent, the Bank of Korea said.
”Consumer spending showed moderate improvement while investments in construction and corporate infrastructure also rose significantly,” it said in a statement. Production in the country’s manufacturing sector expanded by 4.2 percent last year – the highest since 2011 when it grew 6.5 percent. Investment in corporate infrastructure jumped 14.6 percent – the fastest since 2010 – as local firms led by Samsung invested heavily to build or expand plants.
In 2016 Samsung Electronics – the world’s largest chipmaker – invested over 40 trillion won ($37.6 billion) on infrastructure, and it is reported to have invested far more last year. Consumer spending also rose 2.6 percent in 2017 – the fastest pace since 2011. In the fourth quarter the economy grew 3.0 percent year-on-year, the central bank added.
It earlier predicted that the country’s economy would grow 3.0 percent this year – in line with estimates by the IMF and OECD.