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Korea’s Growth Could Plummet to Zero If Coronavirus Drags on

Korea’s economic growth rate could fall below to zero this year due to the coronavirus epidemic, Morgan Stanley and Nomura Securities forecast.

Eight financial institutions including ING Group and Bank of America Merrill Lynch projected Korea’s growth at around one percent this year. At the optimistic end, IHS Markit and Société Générale forecast 1.9 percent growth, while Oxford Economics and Merril Lynch predict 1.8 percent, ING Group 1.7 percent and Capital Economics 1.5 percent.

Nomura also projected 1.8 percent but warned that could further fall to 0.5 percent if China’s lockdown of afflicted cities continues until late June. Morgan Stanley warned Korea’s growth could fall to 0.4 percent if the epidemic drags on.

The last time Korea’s growth fell below two percent was back in 2009 at 0.8 percent, right after the global financial crisis. The last time before that was in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

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