By Lee Kyoung Mi and Yoon Sojung
President Moon Jae-in on Nov. 2 said the economy is in the recovery phase.
In a meeting with his senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae, he said, "A recent batch of economic indicators points to our economy making a quick recovery after overcoming the hardships that have arisen thus far."
"If these efforts are combined to extend our success fighting the virus and also a positive fourth-quarter economic trend, we will be able to see our economy recover from COVID-19’s impact and get back on the right track by the first half of next year."
President Moon mentioned several economic indicators such as the GDP growth rate in the third quarter to back his predictions.
"The third-quarter GDP growth rate has turned back into positive territory, showing the steepest upward trend in 10 years since the global financial crisis," he said. "In particular, triple increases across the board in industrial activity – in production, consumption and investment – this September, the last month of the third quarter, further strengthen the prospect of growth continuing in the fourth quarter as well."
He also highlighted higher economic confidence last month, saying, "The consumer confidence index and the business survey index both posted double-digit growth, the largest increases in 11 years and six months, respectively," adding, “This is the same as a green light, heralding rapid economic recovery."
Calling exports "the main driving force behind the economy’s rapid and robust recovery," President Moon said, "The total exports by month declined slightly due to decreased working days, but daily average exports have returned to positive territory in just nine months since COVID-19 broke out in January and set a 13-month high."
He also said the pandemic can help the nation rediscover its manufacturing industry.
"With COVID-19 limiting our movement and considerably contracting the service sector, our economy has managed to perform miraculously well thanks to our manufacturers’ brisk production and exports, made possible by our robust foundation as a manufacturing powerhouse," he said, pledging to bolster efforts to further raise Korea’s status as a manufacturing superpower.
To innovate the domestic manufacturing sector, President Moon proposed more support for human resource development, especially for small and medium-size companies and conventional manufacturers, so that they can all operate harmoniously.
"The Korean New Deal, which rests upon the two pillars of the Digital New Deal and the Green New Deal, will further expedite manufacturing innovation and raise the status of the Republic of Korea as a manufacturing powerhouse," he added.
Mentioning the need to prepare for a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, President Moon said, "We should focus our efforts on sustainable epidemic prevention and control – befitting the time when we must coexist with the virus – for instance, by reorganizing the social distancing system. At the same time, we will have to redouble our efforts to boost economic vitality."