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South Korea lowers growth outlook for 2016 to 3.1 per cent

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea lowered its growth outlook for 2016 on Wednesday, citing headwinds for exports from China’s slowdown.

The finance ministry said Asia’s fourth-largest economy will expand 3.1 per cent next year. It previously forecast 3.3 per cent growth.

The lower number would still be an improvement from 2015’s forecast growth of 2.7 per cent. This year’s growth was much slower than the ministry’s forecast of 3.8 per cent, due to slumping exports and a deadly respiratory syndrome that battered consumption.

Next year, South Korea’s government plans to introduce policies to boost exports, consumption and birth rates.

It will increase assistance to consumer products companies with big demand from China, such as cosmetics, food and baby products.

The country’s traditional export heavyweights, mainly shipbuilders, automakers and electronics companies, had a tough year in 2015.

To stimulate domestic spending, department stores and traditional markets nationwide will offer bargains every November, akin to Black Friday for American shoppers.