Signs of economic recovery as private consumption risesUpdated: 2014-08-26 06:33:11 (KST)
The economy is finally showing signs of regaining vitality after months of sluggish domestic consumption following April's ferry disaster.
Over the past few days, stores saw sales of gift sets soaring ahead of next month's Chuseok holidays, or the Korean Thanksgiving holidays.
The country's four major retailers say gift purchases, including fish and other food products, jumped as much as 100 percent on-year.
Data by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance indicates an increase in private consumption in July.
Real estate transactions increased more than 90 percent last month compared to the same period last year, while credit card transactions increased by more than five percent.
The improvements came shortly after the government unveiled a string of stimulus measures, including steps to make it easier for home buyers to borrow money from banks.
Experts expect consumer confidence to gradually keep improving in the latter half of this year given that the central bank has made clear it will seek easier monetary policy to help spur economic recovery.
The Bank of Korea cut its base rate by a quarter of a percentage point, ending a 15-month freeze earlier this month.
But in order to greatly improve consumer confidence in the months to come, Im No-joong from Seoul-based I'm Securities and Investment emphasized the need to improve the employment rate.
"Deregulation in the service sector such as medical and the legal sectors would help increase the country's employment rate which could then increase the amount of consumer power among households."
He adds the rate of increase of private consumption is expected to rise to the two-percent range in the latter half of this year.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
Reporter : firstname.lastname@example.org