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(LEAD) S. Korea pushes for 10 tln won extra budget to boost economy
SEJONG, March 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is seeking to draw up an extra budget worth about 10 trillion won (US$8.96 billion) as part of efforts to resuscitate its slowing economic recovery, government sources said Tuesday.

   The finance ministry sources said that the government will hold a closed-door meeting on Friday to determine whether to push for the extra budget.

   The meeting will be chaired by President Park Geun-hye and the results of the discussion will be unveiled the following week as part of the broad economic policy direction for the new government, they added.

   The scale of the envisioned additional budget will be about 10 trillion won, which will likely be raised mostly by issuing government debts, they said. The ministry is in charge of budget affairs.

   The move comes after Park's nominee for finance minister, Hyun Oh-seok, hinted during his confirmation hearing last week that he will explore diverse ways to boost the economy -- including an extra budget -- by taking into account the current economic situation.

   Demand for an additional budget has grown in recent months as the economy is running into cloudy outlooks amid a global slump and it is having a negative impact on the country's export-dependent growth. The South Korean economy expanded 2 percent last year, the slowest gain in three years.

   South Korea has not put forth an extra budget since 2009 when it crafted a 28.4 trillion won worth of additional spending in a bid to tide over the global financial crisis.

   The sources said that the ministry is currently preparing an extra budget proposal to be discussed during the upcoming meeting. It is looking into major areas where additional spending might have a significant impact on supporting the economy, they added.

   They noted that the extra budget this time will place its top priority on creating jobs in line with the new government's pledge to provide opportunities to work for more people.

   Concerns are growing that the job market might not be improving any time soon given the recently-unveiled gloomy employment conditions.

   South Korea's jobless rate jumped to 4 percent in February, up from the previous month's 3.4 percent, the highest level in a year.

   Job creation also slowed significantly, with around 201,000 jobs adding to the economy last month. That was the slowest creation of jobs since February 2010, according to data provided by Statistics Korea.

   kokobj@yna.co.kr
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