Economy of South Korea

Economy - overview
South Korea over the past four decades has demonstrated incredible growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club of world economies, and currently is among the world's 20 largest economies. Initially, a system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, made this success possible. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods, and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea''s development model including high debt/equity ratios and massive short-term foreign borrowing. GDP plunged by 6.9% in 1998, and then recovered by 9% in 1999-2000. Korea adopted numerous economic reforms following the crisis, including greater openness to foreign investment and imports. Growth moderated to about 4% annually between 2003 and 2007. With the global economic downturn in late 2008, South Korean GDP growth slowed to 0.3% in 2009. In the third quarter of 2009, the economy began to recover, in large part due to export growth, low interest rates, and an expansionary fiscal policy, and growth was 3.6% in 2011. In 2011, the US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement was ratified by both governments and is projected to go into effect in early 2012. The South Korean economy''s long term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, and heavy reliance on exports - which comprise half of GDP.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$1.574 trillion (2011 est.)
$1.429 trillion (2009 est.)
data are in 2011 US dollars
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GDP (official exchange rate)
$1.116 trillion (2011 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
3.6% (2011 est.)
0.3% (2009 est.)
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GDP - per capita (PPP)
$32,100 (2011 est.)
$29,300 (2009 est.)
data are in 2011 US dollars
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GDP - composition by sector
agriculture:
2.6%
industry:
39.2%
services:
58.2% (2008 est.)
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Labor force
25.1 million (2011 est.)
rank:
25
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture:
6.4%
industry:
24.2%
services:
69.4% (2011 est.)
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Unemployment rate
3.4% (2011 est.)
3.7% (2010 est.)
Population below poverty line
15% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%:
2.7%
highest 10%:
24.2% (2007)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
31 (2010)
35.8 (2000)
Investment (gross fixed)
27.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
rank:
28
Budget
revenues:
$267.9 billion
expenditures:
$242 billion (2011 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
24% of GDP (2011 est.)
rank:
129
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
2.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
rank:
24
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Public debt
33.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
34.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
4% (2011 est.)
2.9% (2010 est.)
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Central bank discount rate
1.5% (31 December 2011)
1.25% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
5.76% (31 December 2011 est.)
5.508% (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$369.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$352 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of broad money
$1.484 trillion (31 December 2011)
$1.445 trillion (31 December 2010)
Stock of domestic credit
$1.356 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.275 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$994.3 billion (31 December 2011)
$836.5 billion (31 December 2009)
Agriculture - products
rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish
Industries
electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel
Industrial production growth rate
3.8% (2011 est.)
rank:
84
Electricity - production
459.5 billion kWh (2011 est.)
rank:
10
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Electricity - consumption
455.1 billion kWh (2011 est.)
rank:
11
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Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2011)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2011)
Oil - production
48,400 bbl/day (2010 est.)
rank:
62
Oil - consumption
2.195 million bbl/day (2011 est.)
rank:
10
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Oil - exports
1.1 million bbl/day
rank:
21
exports consist of oil derivatives (gasoline, light oil, and diesel), not crude oil (2011 est.)
Oil - imports
2.5 million bbl/day (2011 est.)
rank:
8
Oil - proved reserves
NA bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
Natural gas - production
539.3 million cu m (2010 est.)
rank:
68
Natural gas - consumption
43 billion cu m (2010)
rank:
21
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2010 est.)
rank:
126
Natural gas - imports
42.38 billion cu m (2010 est.)
rank:
8
Natural gas - proved reserves
50 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
rank:
66
Current account balance
$29.79 billion (2011 est.)
$28.21 billion (2010 est.)
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Exports
$556.5 billion (2011 est.)
$464.3 billion (2010 est.)
Exports - commodities
semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals
Exports - partners
China 24.4%, US 10.1%, Japan 7.1% (2011 est.)
Imports
$524.4 billion (2011 est.)
$422.4 billion (2010 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics
Imports - partners
China 16.5%, Japan 13%, US 8.5%, Saudi Arabia 7.1%, Australia 5% (2011 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$306.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$291.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
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Debt - external
$397.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$359.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$130.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$127 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$190.4 billion (31 December 2011)
$164.8 billion (31 December 2009)
Exchange rates
929.2 (2007)
Fiscal year
calendar year
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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