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Rise in Consumer Spending Hits 7-year High

Posted May. 15, 2010 12:19,   


With household income growing, consumer spending has recorded the largest growth in seven years, Statistics Korea said Friday.

This means consumers have begun spending again after tightening their purse strings in the wake of the global financial crisis.

In a report, Statistics Korea said the average monthly spending of households with two members or more was 3,037,000 won (2,680 U.S. dollars) in the first quarter, up 252,000 won (222 dollars) or 9.1 percent from the previous year. This was the highest year-on-year growth since the office began collecting such data in the first quarter of 2003.

After falling 1.2 percent in last year`s first quarter, when consumers cut their spending due to the global financial crisis, growth in household spending stayed at 1.8 percent in the second and third quarters. Household spending jumped 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter last year, however, after the economy began stabilizing and further to 9.1 percent in the first quarter this year.

The amount of monthly consumption excluding non-consumption spending such as tax, pension and insurance was 2,342,000 won (2,067 dollars), up 9.5 percent from a year ago. Many households bought home appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners before April, when a consumption tax was imposed on energy-guzzling home appliances, raising spending in the home appliance sector 18 percent.

Spending on transportation and light and heating expenses also jumped more than 10 percent in the first quarter.

On average, monthly household income was 3,729,000 won (3,291 dollars) in the first quarter. The amount of disposable income not including tax, pension and insurance, grew 7.2 percent from a year ago to 3,033,000 won (2,677 dollars).