South Korea’s economic growth slowed in the second quarter of this year from three months earlier due to the fallout from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak and one of the worst droughts in a century, revised central bank data showed Thursday.
The economy grew 0.3 percent in the April-June period, sharply decelerating from the 0.8 percent on-quarter expansion three months earlier, according to the data by the Bank of Korea.
The quarterly reading matches the central bank’s earlier estimate announced in July.
From a year ago, the Korean economy expanded 2.2 percent, growing at the slowest clip in more than two years.
The MERS outbreak, the second largest outside of Saudi Arabia, hit Asia’s fourth-largest economy as foreigners canceled their visits and locals refrained from leaving their homes on fear of contracting the potentially fatal illness.
Consumer spending fell 0.2 percent on-quarter, marking the first contraction since a 0.4 percent decline a year earlier when the deadly ferry Sewol sinking sapped consumer sentiment and pummeled private spending. The reading slightly improved from an earlier estimated 0.3 percent contraction.
The South Korean government declared a de facto end to MERS in late July after the first infection was reported on May 20.
MERS is a viral respiratory disease that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It has since claimed more 530 lives worldwide, posting a fatality rate of some 36 percent.
As domestic demand weakened, the contribution of domestic demand in economic growth also fell from the previous quarter.
The contribution ratio of domestic demand gained 0.6 percentage point on a seasonally adjusted basis in the second quarter, compared with a 1 percentage point increase three months earlier.
The contribution ratio of private consumption dipped 0.1 percentage point, reversing from a 0.3 percentage point rise in the first quarter.
The contribution ratio of exports fell 0.3 percentage point on-quarter, slipping for the fourth straight quarter as overseas shipments remain subdued from weak global demand.
The revised data showed that exports rose 0.3 percent in the April-June period, picking up from a 0.1 percent gain in the first quarter. From a year earlier, it slumped 0.8 percent. (Yonhap)