South Korea's economic growth hits 2-year high in 1Q


South Korea's economy expanded at the fastest level in two years in the first quarter as capital expenditure and exports turned higher.

The central bank says South Korea's economy grew 0.9 percent in the January-March period from three months prior, accelerating from 0.3 percent growth in the fourth quarter, according to Bank of Korea's preliminary reading.

Over a year earlier, Asia's fourth-largest economy expanded 1.5 percent, the same level as the previous quarter.

The bank said capital expenditure increased after declining for the previous three quarters. Exports also turned higher after the fourth quarter's drop despite Japan's aggressive monetary easing programs that drove down the value of yen, which gave a boost to Japanese firms that compete with South Korean exporters.

Growth in capital expenditure and exports helped mask a decline in private consumption, which turned lower for the first time in five quarters.

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