English World

S.Korea's economy faces downside risks from Omicron: think tank

Xinhua English


SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's economy faces higher downside risks from the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, a state-run think tank said Tuesday.

The Korea Development Institute (KDI) said in a monthly economic report that the Omicron variant spread expanded downside risks for the economy as it stoked tougher anti-virus measures at home and abroad while financial markets got unstable.

The South Korean economy had been on a modest recovery track with the recovery of the services industry, but the new variant spread increased economic uncertainty, the KDI noted.

In the latest tally, the country reported 4,954 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Monday from 24 hours earlier, marking the highest Monday figure since the country's first case was found in January last year.

The number of the Omicron variant infections was 36, including nine imported cases and 27 local transmissions, up 12 from the prior day.

The government tightened anti-virus measures this week as the eased social-distancing rules in November led to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to the KDI data, credit card spending jumped 11.5 percent in November from a year earlier, after growing 4.5 percent in September and 7.7 percent in October.

Retail sale, which gauges private consumption, advanced 7.4 percent in October on a yearly basis.

Production in the mining and manufacturing industry went up 4.5 percent in October from a year ago, while output in the services industry increased 5.2 percent.

The KDI said the recovery in the manufacturing sector was restricted by the global supply disruption and the weaker global demand, noting that negative signs for the economy emerged from recent economic indicators.

Private consumption could be hampered by the Omicron variant spread and the tighter quarantine measures, the think tank added. Enditem