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S. Korea  Surplus Swallows MERS Hit
World Economy

S. Korea Surplus Swallows MERS Hit

New data suggested Monday that South Korea’s economy was more resilient than first feared in the face of this summer’s deadly MERS outbreak, NewsNow reported. While certain industries undoubtedly suffered at the height of public panic in June, the country managed to achieve a record current account surplus that same month. The Bank of Korea revealed that the surplus rose $3.57 billion on-month to reach $12.19 billion, despite a service account deficit of $2.49 billion–the result of MERS-related tourist cancelations as the number of visitors fell 41% in June. Tragic though the loss of 36 lives was for South Korea, it appears questionable how severe the impact of this viral outbreak was on the country’s economy, having started in late May before petering out last month. By comparison, the South saw a $2.65 billion service account shortfall in December 2010 following North Korea’s shelling of a border island. But MERS was blamed for the BOK’s recent interest cut to its lowest-ever rate of 1.5% as well as a 0.3% reduction in the central bank’s 2015 growth forecast.

 

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