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China's COVID-19 lockdowns cast dim outlook on S. Korean exports Updated: 2022-05-13 17:03:19 KST

South Korea's jobs numbers and consumer sentiment both rebounded in April.
According to an assessment Friday from the Finance Ministry, the unemployment rate dropped to 3 percent while the consumer sentiment index ticked up.
Experts attribute much of the improvement to the end of social distancing, but they note that it could soon be overshadowed by inflation.

"People's daily life it's going to be returning to normal, but that doesn't mean that the Korean economy is returning to the normal situation, because we still have the very severe effect of inflation."

In fact, Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues to pile on inflationary pressures, driving up oil prices worldwide.
The impact has reached consumer prices here in South Korea, where prices in April rose 4.8 percent from a year earlier.
South Korea's economic risks are also growing as China drags out its COVID-19 lockdowns.
The finance ministry, in fact, now has a negative outlook for exports and investment.

"With major economies speeding up changes to their monetary policies, and with China extending its lockdowns, volatility is increasing in the international financial markets, and the risks to the global economy are increasing."

Just last month, the ministry had predicted exports to stay strong.
But for the first time in almost two years, the forecast is now negative, and it shows in the latest figures.
Exports rose in April from a year earlier by 12.6 percent but that was smaller than the figures in February and March.
Korea's main stock indices, the KOSPI and KOSDAQ continued to fall.
The Finance Ministry said it will focus its efforts on reducing risk and addressing inflation.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News
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