South Korea has fallen short of attaining its goal of 30-thousand per capita income as the nation saw sluggish economic growth in the two percent range for the second consecutive year.
The Bank of Korea on Tuesday tentatively estimated that the nation’s per capita gross national income (GNI) stood at 27-thousand-561 U.S. dollars last year.
That’s up one-point-four percent from a year earlier but still far behind the 30-thousand dollar benchmark South Koreans have long identified as a qualification for an advanced economy.
Since entering the 20-thousand dollar range in 2006, the nation’s per capita GNI has remained below the 30-thousand dollar threshold. There were 43 countries above the GNI threshold in the year 2015.
South Korea’s gross national disposable income per capita stood at 15-thousand-632 dollars last year, a meager increase by nine-tenths of a percent from a year ago.
The feeble growth in the per-capita income last year was partly attributed to the weakening of the South Korean currency against the U.S. dollar: the average exchange rate between the two currencies last year was one-thousand-160-point-five won per dollar, up two-point-six percent from 2015.
The BOK said the per-capita GNI would have grown four percent, between 2015 and last year, without the strengthening of the greenback.
However, many experts agree that the slowing per-capita income growth resulted more from the falling potential economic growth than the won-dollar exchange rates.
According to the BOK, the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) saw growth of two-point-eight percent in 2016, which was zero-point-one percentage points higher than its initial estimate. It marked the second straight year for the GDP growth to remain in the sluggish two percent range, following another two-point-eight percent growth in 2015.
The figure comes as service industries saw their growth plunge despite the surge in the growth of manufacturing and construction firms.
Private consumption climbed two-and-a-half percent while the nation’s total savings rate jumped two-tenths of a percentage point.