South Korea Q4 household disposable income falls at fastest clip since Q3 2009

[SEOUL] South Korea's average disposable household income in the fourth quarter of last year fell at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis as earned income was hit by a sluggish economy, data showed on Friday.

Real disposable income at South Korean households in the October-December period fell 1.1 per cent over a year earlier, Statistics Korea said, compared to no growth in the previous quarter.

On the whole, real disposable income in 2016 fell 0.3 per cent, the first full year decline since 2009 when it dropped 2 per cent.

Third quarter data was revised from a 0.1 per cent decline. Historical data dating up to 2015 was revised to better reflect accuracy, the statistics agency said.

Fourth quarter disposable income marked the steepest drop since a 2.6 decline in the third quarter of 2009. Breakdowns showed lower earned income drove the fall, down a real 1.1 per cent on-year - also the fastest slide in over seven years.

A separate statement from the finance ministry said earned income was hurt by a delayed economic recovery and corporate restructuring of major industries like shipping and shipbuilding in South Korea.

Household expenditure also fell sharply, dropping a real 3.9 per cent in the fourth quarter on-year to record the worst drop since the first quarter of 2009 when expenditure plunged 5 per cent.

Spending fell for all categories, led by transportation, with the single exception being healthcare. Transportation costs declined mainly due to lower global crude oil prices, the finance ministry said.


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