Roundup: S. Korea to continue push for innovative, inclusive growth policy: deputy PM

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SEOUL, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The South Korean government will continue its push for the innovative, inclusive growth policy during the latter half of President Moon Jae-in's five-year term, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki said here on Wednesday.

Hong, who doubles as a deputy prime minister for economic affairs, told a meeting with foreign correspondents in Seoul that the Moon government had endeavored at the innovative, inclusive growth to create a paradigm shift to innovation, inclusiveness and fairness, from the past economic slump and bipolarization.

Since Moon took office in May 2017, two and a half years have passed out of the single five-year presidency.

The liberal, reform-minded president advocated a so-called income-driven economic policy to narrow excessive gap in wealth and income, while pursuing an innovative growth to foster new growth engines under the Fourth Industrial Revolution era.

Engraving the initial determination on the mind, the government will speed up its push for the innovative, inclusive growth policy, while making every effort to reinvigorate the sagging economy, the deputy prime minister said.

The country's real gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, added 0.4 percent in the third quarter from three months earlier, after expanding 1.0 percent in the second quarter. The growth missed market expectations of 0.5-0.6 percent.

The Bank of Korea (BOK) slashed its benchmark interest rate last month from 1.50 percent to a record low of 1.25 percent, just three months after the rate cut by 25 basis points in July.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised down its 2019 growth outlook for the South Korean economy to 2.0 percent early October from 2.6 percent estimated six months earlier.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) downgraded this year's growth forecast for the economy from 2.4 percent to 2.1 percent in September.

Hong attributed the weaker-than-expected growth to external uncertainties such as the global economic slowdown and the downturn in business cycle of the global semiconductor industry.

According to the IMF data, the global economic growth retreated from 3.8 percent in 2017 to 3.6 percent in 2018. The world economy was forecast to rise 3.0 percent this year.

The global trade growth tumbled from 4.6 percent in 2017 to 3.0 percent in 2018, according to data from the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was expected to fall further to 1.2 percent this year.

South Korea's export, which takes up about half of the economy, kept sliding for the 11th straight month to October. Chip export accounts for about one fifth of the entire outbound shipment.

Domestically, the pattern of consumer spending changed as online shopping almost doubled for the past two years, dealing a heavy blow to the revenue of the self-employed.

A demographic change, caused by the low birth rate and the aging population, raised a possibility for the weakened potential growth and the so-called consumption cliff. The continued slide in childbirth may lead to a demographic cliff, which refers to a sudden drop in the heads of household eventually resulting in a consumption cliff.

Hong said the government will play an active role, through a fiscal spending, to reinvigorate the lackluster economy, while focusing on a moderated bipolarization and an improved distribution as well as a solidified social safety net for sustainable growth.

The 2020 budget was set at a record yearly 513.5 trillion won (440 billion U.S. dollars), up 9.3 percent from this year. It is subject to the National Assembly's approval for the finalization. Enditem

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