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S. Korean economy to grow 3.3 pct this year: foreign IBs
SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- Foreign investment banks projected the South Korean economy would expand 3.3 percent in 2012, slowing from last year's 3.6 percent gain, as growth momentum weakens amid uncertainties stemming from the eurozone debt crisis and slowing global economic expansion, a report showed Thursday.

   But the average growth projection by a total of 10 overseas investment banks is 0.1 percentage point lower than the 3.4-percent expansion estimate for Asia's fourth-largest economy made in January by nine global investment banks, according to the report by the Korea Center for International Finance.

   The data comes on the heels of lower-than-expected growth in 2011. The South Korean economy expanded 3.6 percent last year, slowing from 6.2 percent growth in 2010 and hovering below the central bank's earlier estimate of 3.8 percent.

   The Bank of Korea expects South Korea's economy to expand 3.7 percent in 2012.

   Of the surveyed institutions, UBS gave the lowest estimate at 2.1 percent, and Nomura lowered its growth projection for the South Korean economy to 2.7 percent from its previous estimate of a 3.0 percent gain.

   Nomura said exports would grow 5.5 percent this year, the lowest since 2002 when the comparable figure was 8 percent, and private spending is likely to grow 1 percent this year, slowing from last year's 2.3-percent rise.

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