Seoul, Sep 21 (IANS) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered Friday its 2012 economic growth outlook for South Korea to 3 percent from 3.5 percent estimated in April, citing the eurozone fiscal crisis as a major risk factor.
According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the downgraded outlook came after the IMF had an annual consultative meeting with the country's major ministries and agencies during the period of between May 30 and June 12, reported Xinhua.
The growth outlook for 2013 was also cut to 3.9 percent from an earlier estimate of 4 percent, the ministry said.
The revised outlook was relatively optimistic compared with other local think tanks. The country's state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI) cut its 2012 growth outlook from 3.6 percent to 2.5 percent on Monday.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) has kept its 2012 growth outlook at 3 percent, but the central bank was widely expected to lower the outlook to the 2 percent range in October when it announces its revised outlook.
The IMF projected the country's exports to grow 5.6 percent this year, sharply lower than an 19.3 percent expansion tallied in the previous year. Exports, which account for around half the South Korean economy, dropped 6.2 percent on-year in August after tumbling 8.8 percent in July.
South Korea was forecast to post a current account surplus of $22.5 billion in 2012 before logging a surplus of $21 billion in 2013.
The outlook for the 2012 headline inflation was set at 2.8 percent, with the 2013 outlook being placed at 3.2 percent.