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South Korea's Economy Grew to the Highest in Seven Years
South Korea's economy expanded at the fastest pace in almost six years last quarter as exports and household spending jumped. Gross domestic product rose 2.3 percent from the first quarter, when the nation skirted a recession by growing 0.1 percent, the Bank of Korea said last week.
South Korean consumer confidence rose to the highest in almost seven years in July as government stimulus policies and record interest-rate cuts began leading the economy toward recovery from the global recession. The sentiment index rose to 109 from 106 in June, the Bank of Korea said in Seoul today. That's the highest level since the third quarter of 2002, when the bank published its confidence survey on a quarterly basis. A score of more than 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists. The Kospi stock index has climbed 34 percent this year. Sales at the nation's major department stores rose for a fourth month in June as consumers bought more home appliances. The government has pledged about 67 trillion won ($52 billion) in stimulus measures, including a 17.2 trillion won package of cash handouts, cheap loans, labor-market aid and infrastructure spending. The central bank pared the benchmark interest rate by 3.25 percentage points between October and February, the most aggressive easing in a decade. The consumer confidence index is based on a survey of 2,200 households in 56 major cities, conducted by mail and telephone between July 13 and July 20.read source article