The Bank of Korea said Thursday that the country's real GDP grew 3.9 percent in the January to March period from a year earlier, spurred by strong exports and expanding private spending.
This quarterly growth is the fastest on-year gain since the first quarter of 2011.
Compared to the previous three months, the economy was up point-nine percent, maintaining its growth of around one percent for the third consecutive quarter.
The bank said the expansion was helped by steady growth in exports which gained 1.7 percent from the previous quarter.
Among other factors contributing to the recovery were a surge in research and development activities and a gain in investment in the construction sector.
Central bank officials said the first quarter growth signaled the Korean economy is returning to its normal growth track.
Director General of the Bank of Korea's economic statistics division Jung Young-taek said if this pace of quarterly growth continues, the country would be on track for an annual four-percent growth for 2014.
Earlier this month, the central bank upwardly revised this year's growth forecast to four percent from 3.8 percent.
Jung, however, added that a variant would be economic impacts from last week's tragic sinking of the Sewol-ho ferry, particularly on consumer sentiment.
Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.