December 27, 2008

Lee warns of South Korean downturn

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Saturday his country will suffer its first period of negative economic growth in a decade.

Lee blamed the situation on the global financial problem, Yonhap News Agency reported.

On an annual basis, Korea may attain some economic growth, but may undergo economic contraction in the first and second quarters, Lee said. Few countries worldwide will attain economic growth between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. The Korean economy will also hit rock bottom in the first half.

Seoul's Finance Ministry had reported last week that the South Korean economy would grow about 3 percent next year despite the global economic downturn, Yonhap reported.