Last week, the Bank of Korea announced that the country’s economy grew by a measly 0.3 percent from July to September, which was lower than expected with most of the blame being assigned to low domestic consumption due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal predicted that Seoul’s economy would grow by 0.6 percent during the period. Those economists did not take into account that there would be a 0.3 percent contraction in private consumption in the country.
The economy grew 0.8 percent in the previous three months.
“The toughened social distancing measures and impacts from the heat wave and rising raw material prices that continued over the third quarter seem to have limited the recovery in domestic demand … but exports were seen propping up the economy,” Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said.
South Korea was the first Asian economy to tighten monetary policy after the COVID-19 outbreak after announcing a 25-basis point hike to 1 percent in August.
The country is still hopeful that it will see a 4 percent annual growth after contracting 0.9 percent in 2020. The report pointed out that Seoul plans to start living with the pandemic rather than eliminate the disease. The country is expected to do away with many curbs by early 2022 and will begin easing restrictions in November, the report said.
Under the new guidelines, cafés and restaurants can stay open past 10 p.m. and protests and weddings can occur as long as there’s fewer than 500 vaccinated participants, NPR reported. The report said vaccine passports will be required at many venues.
About 70 percent of the country has been vaccinated. NPR reported that the infection rate is no longer “the primary deciding factor” to implement these restrictions and is expecting more cases as these guidelines loosen. The country is going to learn to live with the virus instead of trying to defeat it.
“Beginning November 1, our community will take the first step of resuming our normal life,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said last week, according to Reuters. “However, we must be aware that this doesn’t mean the fight against coronavirus is over, but a new beginning.”
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has been reporting for months on the pain that COVID-19 lockdowns have inflicted on the global economy, and that the measures taken by nations to fight the COVID War lack practical science and factual data (SEE: “COVID-19 LOCKDOWNS: COMPLETE POLICY FAILURES,” “W.H.O. NOW SAYS ‘WE DON’T ADVOCATE LOCKDOWNS,” and “THE TROUBLE WITH LOCKDOWNS.”)