Risk from Europe and Iran rising, says Bahk

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Risk from Europe and Iran rising, says Bahk

The Korean economy is faced with increasing uncertainty due to external downside risks such as Greece’s possible exit from the euro zone and international sanctions against Iran, Seoul’s top economic policymaker said yesterday.

In a weekly meeting of senior economic officials, Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said external uncertainties have disrupted the steady pace of the country’s recovery.

“There has been an easing of jitters coming into this week, but the global financial market remains unstable,” he said.

He said Seoul hoped the upcoming European summit meeting could reach an understanding on tackling the continent’s many woes.

“For Europe to attain both stability and growth, there is a pressing need for all countries to work together,” Bahk said.

The policymaker added that the government is carefully monitoring all external developments and implementing policies to attract business investments and new jobs critical for sustainable growth.

Seoul said the country may be able to pull off 3.7 percent growth this year from 3.6 percent tallied for 2011, but most think tanks and international organizations have readjusted their growth estimates to reflect fallout from the euro zone and slower-than-expected growth in the United States and China.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday that Asia’s fourth-largest economy may grow just 3.3 percent this year, while the International Monetary Fund said 3.5 percent growth is likely.

The state-run research organization Korea Development Institute predicted 3.6 percent growth, while the Bank of Korea said 3.5 percent growth may be possible for the year.


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