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Economic Growth Top Priority for South Koreans

South Korea’s financial services industry recorded 9.2%  in output growth last year.South Korea’s financial services industry recorded 9.2%  in output growth last year.

South Korean economists and ordinary citizens alike want the next administration to make economic growth and income distribution its top priorities, a survey said Sunday.

The same survey found that many of the respondents view the country’s political and parliamentary capacities as below par, Yonhap reported.

The Korea international Trade Association polled 1,000 people, including 321 economic experts, from March 21-27 on what they wanted the next government to focus on for short- and mid-term policies. Results showed 49.8% of economic specialists and 35.3% of ordinary citizens hoped the incoming administration to hone in on growth and distribution, while 30.2% of the former and 28.1% of the latter picked labor and jobs.

The two groups had some differences on certain issues. Asked about North Korea policy, 53.9% of the experts preferred engagement compared to 48.2% among ordinary citizens. For education, 60.7% of experts wanted schools and children to be able to make their own decisions, while 50.6% of ordinary citizens opted for stronger government intervention.

Responses were alike for the two groups on their assessment of the country’s political and parliamentary capacities and the quality of people’s lives. Asked to give scores of up to a maximum five points, economists gave politics 1.79 points. Ordinary citizens gave 1.64 points.

Parliament received 2.2 points from both experts and citizens. On quality of life, the former group gave 2.45 points, the latter 2.3 points.

The economy was rated as having the best capacity, receiving 3.31 points from specialists and 3.03 points from ordinary citizens.

 Financial Services

Korea’s financial services industry recorded 9.2% in output growth last year largely driven by interest revenues from growing household loans, government data showed on Sunday.

According to Statistics Korea, the year-on-year production growth of financial institutions in 2016 was more than triple the 3% reported for the overall services industry.

By institution, banks gained 9%, the highest since 11.8% in 2008. Nonbank depository institutions including savings banks and credit unions posted 17%, the fastest since 2000 when Korea began tracking the industry.

On a monthly basis, banks have been gaining an average 4% since 2015. They posted double-digit monthly growth from August 2016 to November when the figure hit the year’s highest 11.3%. The curve has since gone downward but managed to record 7.6% in January and 8.1% in February.

Nonbank institutions also saw double-digit growth from September 2015 to February this year. The growth peaked in 20.8% in January 2017, which broke the previous record of 20.5% tallied in November last year.

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