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Experts say per capita GNI won’t reach $30,000

Mar 06,2017
Korea is unlikely to reach its long-held target of $30,000 in gross national income per capita this year, as its economy is losing steam at a faster pace, local experts said Sunday.

The per capita GNI refers to the total domestic and foreign output by residents of a country, reflecting the income level of the economy.

Korea’s per capita GNI was $27,340 in 2015, ranking 46th in the world, with 43 countries over the $30,000 level, regarded as “advanced economies.”

For last year, Korea’s per capita GNI is expected to stay unchanged from the previous year’s numbers, considering economic growth, foreign exchange rates and population, according to the experts.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy expanded 2.7 percent last year, the 10th-fastest pace among members of the OECD, while the Korean won lost ground against the U.S. dollar.

“Given many other factors based on the growth rate for 2016, the per capita GNI will likely stand unmoved at $27,000,” said Oh Jung-geun, a professor at Konkuk University.

Korea has failed to pierce the $30,000 level for 10 years since it first reached the $20,000 line in 2006.

For 2017, the expert expected the country to also remain in the range of $25,000 to $29,000, as it is showing no clear signs of clear rebound amid rising uncertainties at home and abroad.

The Korean government earlier set its growth target at 2.6 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from the previous year’s growth, while some private institutions forecast that the economy will grow 2 percent due to faltering business and consumer sentiments.

“Exports may slow down some extent due to a weakening Japanese yen,” Oh said. “Corporate investment has also been dampened by the recent political turmoil. It seems very unlikely that per capita GNI will reach $30,000.” YONHAP