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S. Korea's economic recovery still weak
SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's future and current economic indicators remained stagnant in 2012, data showed Thursday, apparently due to the country's rising household debt and a strong won.

   According to the data compiled by KB Investment & Securities Co., the country's leading and coincident indexes each reached 2 points through November 2012, reflecting the country's dull economic condition.

   KB Investment gives a country a grade between 1-4 points to measure its future and current economic conditions and help gauge how the economy is performing. A higher number indicates an improved economic situation.

   South Korea's poor standing came as its currency continued to appreciate against the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen, while the amount of household debt also increased last year.

   The won's recent surge sparked worries over the export-reliant economy, as the strong won usually makes South Korean goods more expensive overseas.

   Household debt also weighed down Asia's fourth-largest economy as it reached 930 trillion won (US$854 billion) as of the end of September 2012, tantamount to more than 70 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for 2011.

   Meanwhile, KB Investment said the country may seek to rebound this year on the back of the economic recovery of the U.S. and China.

   The leading and coincident indexes of the U.S. stood at 3 points and 4 points, respectively, over the cited period due to its higher-than-expected third quarter GDP growth last year, which came in at 3.1 percent, up 1.8 percentage points from three months earlier.

   China's economic growth also rebounded to 7.9 percent on-year in the fourth quarter of 2012, putting a stop to seven straight quarters of slowdown. Its leading and coincident indexes stood at 4 points and 3 points, respectively.

   colin@yna.co.kr
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