Gov't needs to draw up measures to revive consumption: minister

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- The government should introduce measures to revive weak consumption hard-hit by April's deadly ferry accident, the top economic policymaker said Thursday.

"Since the President Park Geun-hye government was inaugurated, the economic recovery had been accelerating but consumption sentiment is shrinking following the Sewol ferry accident," Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok told a parliamentary interpellation session.

"The overall economic trends were weakened and that is the reason why we need government measures... and it is necessary for the government to push for measures in areas which are directly affected," he added.

Hyun still assured that the country can achieve its 4 percent growth objective for this year and added that there is no need for an extra budget to boost economic recovery.

Asked if the government is considering easing housing loan regulations, Hyun avoided a direct response but said that the decision should be made with reference to diverse perspectives including the assessment of the current economic situation.

Debate over housing loan regulations has been growing since new finance minister nominee Choi Kyoung-hwan hinted last week that he could push to ease debt-to-income (DTI) and loan-to-value (LTV) rules in order to help boost the property market.

DTI and LTV rules, which are designed to control the amount of loans for home purchasers based on their income and ability to pay back debts, were introduced when the country's housing market was booming. Critics say that the government should not adjust the housing loan regulations since it could aggravate fast-growing household debt.

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