South Korea's economic growth slowed in the second quarter from three months earlier, the central bank said Wednesday, as export gains eased sharply due partly to global economic uncertainties.
Asia's fourth-largest economy grew 0.8 percent quarter-on-quarter in April-June compared to a 1.3 percent expansion in January-March, according to an advance estimate from the Bank of Korea.
Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 3.4 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, slowing down from a 4.2 percent annual increase in January-March.
"Private consumption steadily increased and facilities investment rose. But growth in exports slowed while construction investment remained sluggish," the central bank said in a statement.
Wednesday's figures showed that exports, which account for about half of GDP, rose 1.8 percent in the second quarter from the previous quarter, slowing from a 3.3 percent rise in January-March.
The fall came amid growing global uncertainty sparked by the eurozone debt crisis and a possible US debt default.
The second-quarter performance was slightly below the central bank's initial estimate early this month and the market's expectations.
However the bank said growth is likely to pick up to 1.5 percent in both the third and fourth quarters, indicating the economy remains on a robust recovery track.
"Exports of tech products remained weak last quarter mainly because prices of flat panel and chips have not yet recovered," said Kim Young-Bae, director general of its economic statistics division.
"The pace of overseas shipments slowed down but as the level of exports remained sound overall, it would be hard to say that exports stay weak."
Kim stuck by the bank's full-year growth forecast of 4.3 percent growth, while the finance ministry's prediction is 4.5 percent. GDP grew 6.2 percent in 2010, the fastest rate for eight years.
"The second quarter is the bottom. The strengthening won will help improve the trade terms, limit imported inflation and enhance consumers' purchasing power," Shinhan Investment Corp economist Lee Sung-Kwon told Dow Jones Newswires.
Park Sang-Hyun, a chief economist at Hi Investment and Securities, told Yonhap news agency the second-quarter growth figure was weaker than expected as export gains cooled.
"In the third quarter, the growth rate will be higher than the second-quarter one, but the pace is not likely to be steep given external uncertainty," said Park.