South Korea's economy grew by two percent in 2019.
That's on par with the Bank of Korea's forecast made in November, but the slowest pace since 2009, when the world was in the midst of the global financial crisis.
The central bank attributed the lower reading to slowing global growth, the U.S.-China trade dispute and falling chip prices, but added that the local economy's fourth quarter growth was the fastest in more than two years, recording one.two percent, mainly supported by government spending.
"Private spending grew at a similar pace as in the third quarter, but government spending increased sharply. The contribution of government spending to GDP growth increased from point-two percent to one percent in the fourth quarter as government spending in SOC projects and welfare shot up."
Facilities investment went up and construction investment made a turnaround, jumping more than six percent in the fourth quarter.
For 2019 as a whole, government spending increased by a 10-year-high of six.five percent.
Private spending increased 1.nine percent, the slowest pace since 2013.
Both facilities and construction investment fell while exports increased one.five percent.
"Exports and investment were sluggish as expected. Weak trade and global growth dragged down facilities investment. But consumption was unexpectedly low. Employment figures were good last year, but consumption was weak which means actual job growth wasn't that strong.
As for 2020, the central bank in November forecast South Korea's economy to grow two.three percent on a slight easing of trade tensions between the U.S. and China and higher chip prices.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.