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Dow Jones Newswires: South Korea’s economy slows in third quarter

South Korea’s economy slowed at a faster-than-expected pace in the third quarter on weaker investment and subdued consumer spending amid the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19.

Gross domestic product grew 0.3% for the July-September period from the previous quarter, following a revised 0.8% expansion in the second quarter, showed preliminary Bank of Korea data on Tuesday.

The latest reading missed the media forecast of 0.6% growth for the third quarter by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Construction investment shrank further from the preceding quarter, as contraction in both private consumption and facility investment outweighed growth in exports, showed the data.

Year-on-year, the economy expanded 4.0% in the third quarter after a revised 6.0% expansion in the previous quarter.

The median forecast was for 4.3% growth in the third quarter.

The weaker-than-expected quarterly GDP data came as the central bank is dialing back monetary stimulus brought on by the pandemic. The bank lifted the base rate in August after 15 months of keeping it at a record low, signaling it may raise it further.

The central bank says the country’s economy is on track to achieve its projected 4.0% growth for 2021 on the government’s continued fiscal stimulus and solid export growth.

The pandemic-hit Korean economy shrank 0.9% in 2020.

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