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October 27, 2009

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S. Korea's GDP expands at fastest pace in Q3

SOUTH Korea's economy grew at its fastest pace in over seven years in the third quarter amid strength in manufacturing and capital spending as Asian countries lead the global recovery.

Its gross domestic product rose 2.9 percent in the three months ended September 30 compared with the previous three months when it expanded 2.6 percent, the Bank of Korea said yesterday. The result, which far exceeded expectations, marked the strongest growth since an expansion of 3.8 percent in the first quarter of 2002.

Investors cheered the news, sending Seoul's Kospi stock index up 1 percent to close at 1,657.11. The benchmark has soared 47 percent this year, erasing a nearly 41 percent decline in 2008. The South Korean won rose against the dollar.

"It seems as much as anywhere it's a full-fledged recovery in Korea," said David Cohen, chief of Asian forecasting at Action Economics in Singapore. He termed "dramatic" the economy's turnaround from the depths it hit late last year as the global financial meltdown sapped Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The East Asian country - home to industrial powerhouses such as Samsung Electronics Co and Hyundai Motor Co - has been recovering from its worst downturn since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.


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