South Korea's economic growth is expected to slow in 2015 from a year earlier due to slumping exports and anemic consumer spending, a leading think tank said Tuesday.
Asia's fourth-largest economy will likely expand 3% on-year this year, down from a 3.3% advance last year, the LG Economic Research Institute said in its report on domestic and foreign economic outlooks for 2015.
The institute cited slackening overseas shipments and private consumption that remains in the doldrums.
"The value of exports is feared to drop this year from 2014 due to slowing emerging economies and more intense competition," it said. "Consumer spending is unlikely to pick up fast as more South Koreans opt to save more amid an economic slump.
Yet the think tank forecast that the domestic economy will recover slightly in the second quarter on low interest rates and oil prices, but it said the economy has yet to enter a full-fledged recovery phase.
The institute said the nation's consumer inflation rate will hover below 1% this year, with the pace of employment growth likely to slow compared to last year, according to South Korea's (Yonhap) News Agency.
The country's current-account surplus is estimated at US$120 billion in 2015, up 34.1% from the $89.42 billion posted a year earlier, due mainly to a drop in imports, it added.
The think tank's gloomy growth outlook comes days after the Bank of Korea slashed its growth forecast for this year to 3.1% from its earlier estimate of 3.4%.
The institute predicted the global economy to grow in the low 3% range this year due to weak prices of raw materials, which will negatively affect exports of developing countries.
The United States, Japan and the eurozone, however, are expected to pull out of a slump, it said, adding that China will maintain sluggish growth due to slowing exports and a stagnant property market.