S. Korea's economy to grow 3.6 pct in H2 on exports: think tank

SEOUL, June 24 (Yonhap) -- The country's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at a much faster rate in the second half of this year than it did in the first six months of 2013 due partly to growing exports, a local think tank said Monday.

According to a report from the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET), the country's GDP is expected to grow 3.6 percent from a year earlier in the July-December period, compared with a 1.8 percent on-year gain in the first half.

The report forecast the country's annual economic growth to reach 2.7 percent.

The outlook is slightly higher than the 2.6 percent growth estimated by the Bank of Korea, and significantly higher than the government's forecast of 2.3 percent, though the government recently said it was mulling over raising the growth forecast to the upper range of 2 percent.

"The local economy is expected to post an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent as its recovery rate is expected to speed up in the later half of the year on growing exports, improving trade conditions following the stabilization of oil prices and on effects of the government's economic stimulus efforts," the KIET report said.

The report said the country's exports will likely grow 6.5 percent on-year to US$290.5 billion in the second half following a 1.1 percent gain in the first half.

Imports are expected to grow at a faster rate of 7.7 percent on-year to $275.1 billion, despite a 1.2 percent drop in the first six months of the year, it added.

Global oil prices, it said, will likely come to an annual average of $102 per barrel.

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