RTTNews - The South Korean central bank confirmed on Friday that the country's gross domestic product unexpectedly rose 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the previous quarter. The preliminary estimate on April 24 came up with the same figure, which allowed South Korea to avert a technical recession after the 5.6 percent quarterly fall in the previous three months.

On an annual basis, GDP was revised slightly higher from -4.3 percent to -4.2 percent. Analysts had been expecting a 4.6 percent decline after the 3.4 percent contraction in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Among the production components, the manufacturing sector fell 3.4 percent, due mainly to the declines in transport equipment and general machinery that offset the growth in petroleum, coal and chemicals. The construction sector saw a growth rate of 5.9 percent, which was attributable to an increase in civil engineering. Services rose by 0.3 percent. The wholesale and retail trade, restaurant and hotels and health showed the steady growth, while transport and storage and business activities both shrank.

On the expenditure side, private consumption rose 0.4 percent owing to an increase in expenditures on health and communication but remained static for alcoholic beverages and tobacco and recreations and culture. Facilities investment dropped 11.2 percent due to a contraction in machinery equipment and transport equipment. Construction investment rose by 5.2 percent due to an increase in civil engineering.

Exports of goods decreased by 3.4 percent due to falling exports of transport equipment and general machinery. Imports of goods also shrank by 6.2 percent, led downward by those of machinery and electronic products.

Real GDP fell 4.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2009. On the production side, real GDP's decline was mainly attributable to the falls in manufacturing and services, which offset the growth of construction. On the expenditure side, construction investment showed robust growth while private consumption, facilities investment and exports all fell steeply.

Nominal gross national income shed 0.6 percent, while real gross national income lost 0.2 percent since net factor income from the rest of the world worsened while trading losses arising from changes in the terms of trade slightly improved from the previous quarter.

In terms of year-on-year growth, real GNI decreased by 4.7 percent. The GDP deflator was up 2.8 percent, while the gross saving ratio fell from 30.4 percent in the previous quarter to 29.3 percent. The gross domestic investment ratio was 26.5 percent.

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