South Korea's Q1 budget spending higher than planned
The government earlier said it would spend some 31 percent of 469.2 trillion won in budget and public funds earmarked for 2016 in the first three months of the year in the face of tough challenges at home and abroad, including a sharp downturn in oil prices and waning global demand, while domestic consumption remains in the doldrums.
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said it has executed 148.3 trillion won of its budget in the first three months of the year, far exceeding its planned spending of 134 trillion won over the January-March period.
The central government spearheaded the budget spending to use some 77.3 trillion won in the first quarter, exceeding its earlier goal of 71.5 trillion won, while 50.2 trillion won was injected by provincial governments.
"The ministry expects that the increased fiscal spending will help fuel consumer and business sentiment and boost the entire economy in the coming months," the finance ministry said in a release.
South Korea has been faced with a decline in exports and domestic demand since the latter half of last year, with outbound shipments falling for 15 months in a row and retail sales on a decline for months.
The government came up with pump-prime measures, including the budget frontloading and the resumption of an excise tax cut program, to prop up the economy.
Recently, key economic indicators showed some signs of recovery, as the pace of decline in South Korea's outbound shipments decelerated to 8.2 percent in March from a 18.8 percent on-year drop in January and a 12.2 percent fall in February.
Consumers' sentiment improved from a month earlier in March, snapping a three-month losing streak, while business sentiment among manufacturing companies for April hit a five-month high with both large and smaller firms. ■