South Korea's Q4 GDP likely shrank, hints at possible recession - Reuters poll

By Veronica Dudei Maia Khongwir BENGALURU (Reuters) - South Korea's export-dependent economy is forecast to have contracted in the fourth quarter, putting in its worst

performance in 2-1/2 years as falling foreign demand and rising interest rates hurt private consumption, a Reuters poll found. Asia's fourth-largest economy is expected to

have shrunk by a seasonally-adjusted 0.3% in the October-December quarter after growing 0.3% in the preceding period. All but one of 13 economists in the Jan. 16-19 Reuters

poll forecast a contraction, with the other expecting growth to flatline. If realized, it would be the sharpest contraction since mid-2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was cementing

its grip on the world. On a year-on-year basis, gross domestic product (GDP) likely grew 1.5% in the fourth quarter, the median forecast of 21 economists showed, half the

3.1% growth in the third quarter. Forecasts ranged from 0.7% to 1.9%. The data will be released on January 26. "High frequency data showed a broad-based pullback in

activity in Q4. The export-oriented manufacturing sector led the weakness, but services activity and retail trade also deteriorated," wrote Krystal Tan, economist at

ANZ. "The near-term growth outlook remains challenging amid the global tech downcycle and a faltering property market. The weak growth backdrop supports the case for an

extended pause by the Bank of Korea." Exports fell 9.5% in December from the year before and may weaken further amid growing fears of global recession and an economic

slowdown in China, the country's largest trading partner.