S. Korea’s 1Q24 Economic Growth Beats Economists’ Expectations

South Korea experienced robust economic growth in the first quarter of this year, driven by improvements in private consumption, increased construction activities, and consistent exports.

According to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea released on Thursday, South Korea’s GDP in 1Q24 expanded by 3.4% year-on-year, marking a notable acceleration from the 2.2% growth seen in the previous quarter.

Quarter-on-quarter figures also depicted a positive trend, with the economy growing by 1.3% in the January-March period, surpassing the 0.6% expansion recorded in the prior quarter, as reported by the central bank.

The latest GDP data revealed the strongest performance since the fourth quarter of 2021, beating the expectations of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, which projected a growth of 0.5% on a quarterly basis and 2.4% annually.

Key highlights from the data include a sequential increase in private consumption and a rebound in construction investments following a contraction in the previous quarter. Additionally, exports continued to demonstrate steady growth, fueled by heightened shipments of mobile handsets and other information technology products.

The South Korean economy expanded by 1.4% in 2023. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the central bank indicated that the GDP growth for 2024 could align with or exceed its initial forecast of 2.1%, illustrating a positive trajectory in economic performance.