How regional economies fared

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How regional economies fared

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Economic growth was highly uneven in Korea last year, data showed Monday.

According to Statistics Korea, the GDP of 17 provinces and major cities rose 3.2 percent, or 60 trillion won ($51.6 billion), on-year to 1,900 trillion won in 2018.

Stripping out inflation, the agency said the country saw real GDP growth of 2.8 percent last year thanks to the growth of the local manufacturing sector and health care industries, as well as finance and insurance sectors.

While the country saw overall growth in production last year, North Gyeongsang, Jeju, Incheon and Ulsan saw their GDPs fall due to declines in regional construction and facilities investments.

North Gyeongsang’s GDP fell 0.9 percent on-year, as its construction industry downsized 15.2 percent. Jeju, which saw a 0.4 percent on-year decline, saw its construction sector shrink 19.2 percent. The construction sector for Incheon fell 9.3 percent on-year, leading to an overall GDP decline of 0.2 percent growth. Ulsan also saw its GDP drop 0.2 percent as its construction nosedived 14.6 percent.

Between 2017 and 2018, North Gyeongsang, Jeju, Incheon and Ulsan saw construction investments drop 15.6 percent, 19.4 percent, 9.8 percent and 14.7 percent respectively.

While some regions suffered production declines, others saw healthy GDP growth.

North Chungcheong saw its GDP rise 6.7 percent between 2017 and 2018, while Gwangju saw its add 5.5 percent. Gyeonggi’s GDP rose 5.0 percent and Seoul’s rose 4.5 percent on-year.

Gyeonggi’s GDP reached 474 trillion won last year, and Seoul saw its gross production post 422 trillion won. Seoul and nearby areas including Gyeonggi and Incheon accounted for 51.8 percent of Korea’s GDP in 2018, up 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier.

Agriculture and fisheries became more important to the economies of southern regions of the country last year, while services gained in the capital region and Busan.

North Gyeongsang (16.5 percent), South Jeolla (15.5 percent) and South Chungcheong (12.5 percent) had the highest proportion of such industries in their regions. Over the course of the year, South Gyeongsang saw the proportion of its agriculture and fisheries sector rise from 11 percent to 12 percent, while South Jeolla saw its sector grow from 14.9 percent to 15.5 percent.

During the same period, Jeju and Gyeonggi saw the proportions for their agriculture and fisheries sectors decline 0.6 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points on-year, respectively.

In the capital and nearby regions, services became more important. Seoul, Gyeonggi and Incheon saw the overall proportion of agriculture and fisheries in their economies decline 0.3 percentage points on-year from 11.9 percent to 11.5 percent in 2018.

Seoul had the largest proportion of services in its economy with 30.9 percent, followed by Gyeonggi with 22.3 percent and Busan with 5.7 percent. The proportion of services for Seoul became greater from 30.6 percent in 2017 to 30.9 percent last year, while for Gyeonggi it grew from 22.0 percent to 22.3 percent.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]

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