Economic expectations

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Economic expectations

Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Hyun Oh-seok has finally begun his term in office, fully activating President Park Geun-hye’s economic team a month after her administration was inaugurated. Hyun, who is also the Minister of Strategy and Finance, laid out four economic priorities in his inaugural address - an “inventive economy” that can create meaningful jobs for the people, tailored employment and welfare for the needy, reform of public budgets and expenditures and economic revitalization.

In particular, he stressed the importance of devising concrete measures within the month to rejuvenate the local economy amid a global economic slowdown. He also emphasized that it’s imperative the long-depressed real estate market recover and ballooning household debt be eased. We are relieved that the head of the new government’s economic team is fully aware of the problems facing our economy.

The lengthy power vacuum in the economic administration has been aggravating uncertainties about the economy amid concerns over a structural slowdown. The Japanese government’s arbitrary policies aimed at weakening the yen have eroded Korea’s export competitiveness and stoked volatility in the international financial market. But we had no idea what measures the new government would come up with.

The same goes for longer-term policies on employment and welfare, finance reform and new growth engines. The real estate slump is being aggravated by the lack of policy direction, which forced many companies across the country to delay their investments. That further worsened our economic confidence and prospects.

The economic team should charge full speed ahead to make up for the lost time. It must first assess the immediate risks and dangers facing the economy and set priorities in presenting measures to address them.

We believe the first thing the government needs to do is kick-start the economy, which has been sinking deeper toward recession. We need to raise funds for new welfare benefits and create new jobs through the “creative economy.”

But those goals may not be possible if the economy isn’t saved first. The first economic cabinet meeting this week is expected to produce a set of stimuli measures that include supplementary budgeting and actions to stimulate the real estate market.

We hope the government proves itself with effective actions.
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