March 09, 2010 11:45
The OECD reported Monday that Korea's economy expanded 0.2 percent last year, the third-highest gain among the 21 member countries that have disclosed their preliminary growth figures. Poland ranked first with growth of 1.7 percent followed by Australia at 1.4 percent.
Economic data from all 30 member states have yet to be confirmed, but experts say Korea, Poland and Australia were the only countries with positive economic growth last year.
Meanwhile, G7 nations have underperformed with the U.S. economy contracting 2.4 percent, while Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K. all shrank by 5 percent in 2009.
Experts say the Korean government's diverse stimulus measures such as tax benefits and extra-budget spending enabled the economy to rapidly rebound from a downturn.
The OECD predicted that Korea's economy will continue to expand by an impressive 4.4 percent this year, marking the highest among the OECD members with an average growth forecast of 1.9 percent.
However, Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun told reporters Monday that Asia's fourth-largest economy still remains too fragile for the government to implement an exit strategy and raise interest rates.
His remarks come just three days before a rate-setting policy meeting by the Bank of Korea, reflecting Yoon's concerns over the "self sustainability" of the private sector and "significant" household debt levels in the country.
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