South Korea’s economic growth rate ranked fifth among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in the first quarter of the year, a sharp turnaround from three months earlier, OECD data showed Sunday.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy expanded 1.1 percent in the January-March period from three months earlier, the fifth-highest among OECD member nations after Latvia (1.7 percent), Poland (1.6 percent), and Hungary and Chile (1.2 percent).
South Korea tied with Finland and Mexico. The average growth rate of the 35 OECD nations came to 0.5 percent for the three-month period.
The South Korean economy contracted 0.2 percent on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2017, ranking 34th among the OECD countries.
Norway placed last with a negative growth rate of 0.3 percent.
In the first quarter of the year, Japan came in last with a growth rate of minus 0.2 percent, compared with a 0.1 percent gain three months earlier.
From a year earlier, the average growth rate of the OECD members came to 2.6 percent, compared with the 2.7 percent expansion in the previous quarter.
South Korea and the United States jointly came in first with a gain of 2.9 percent, while Japan ranked last with 1 percent.
Experts said it remains unclear whether South Korea will continue to rank among the top performing OECD members down the road, considering such negatives as rising oil prices and weak domestic demand.
South Korea’s latest composite leading indicator (CLI) compiled by the OECD stood at 99.6 for March, hovering below 100 for the third straight month. A figure below the benchmark signals an economic slowdown.
The CLI is designed to provide an early sign of a turning point in the business cycle, indicating fluctuations of economic activity around its long-term potential level.
With signs of an economic slowdown propping up, some private economists have raised concerns over South Korea’s goal of achieving an economic growth rate of 3 percent this year. (Yonhap)