S. Korea to execute record budget in H1 to boost consumption

The government decided Thursday to execute 398 trillion won (US$299.47 billion) of budget in the first half of 2024 to prop up weak domestic demand, the finance ministry said. It marks the largest amount set aside for the early budget execution scheme so far, and the budget includes investment by public institutions of 34.9 trillion won and private investment of 2.7 trillion won, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The budget will be primarily used for projects that "directly affect the people," and the government will particularly focus on supporting small merchants, young people, low-income households, senior citizens and other vulnerable people, it added. The South Korean economy has shown signs of a gradual recovery led by exports, but private consumption and investment remained weak to cap the overall economic growth, experts and officials said. Earlier in the day, the Bank of Korea froze its key rate for the ninth straight session, pointing to weak momentum for a recovery of domestic d emand due to still-high inflation and interest rates. Source: Yonhap News Agency