By Kang Seung-woo
Korea’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to climb back to the $20,000 level for the first time in three years this year, driven by the strengthening won, the central bank said Sunday.
In addition, the LG Economic Research Center forecasts that the nation will hit an all-time high of about $23,000 in per capita GDP next year.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) reported that the nominal gross national income (GNI) for this year is estimated at about $1 trillion (1162.7 trillion won), which translates to a per capita income of $20,510. The GNI includes all income generated by nationals, both domestically and overseas.
The nominal GNI was calculated based on the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimate of 6.1 percent and an annual average exchange rate of 1,160 Korean won against the greenback, according to the BOK.
The central bank said that unless the U.S. dollar soars steeply against the won in year-end trading, the per capita income is likely to surpass $20,000.
This is the first time for the nation’s per capita GNI to exceed the level since 2007, when it reached a record $21,659, meaning that the fourth-largest Asian economy is recovering from the global economic crisis.
Korea passed the $10,000 level for the first time in 1994, posting $11,432, and continued its rise toward $20,000 until reaching that figure 13 years later.
The per capita income fell below the $20,000 mark in 2008 in the wake of the global financial crisis, sparked by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Last year, it fell to a five-year low of $17,071.
A BOK official said, “Despite lingering global economic uncertainty, the Korean economy is expected to continue its recovery.”
The bright forecast is in line with those of other forecasters.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in September that Korea’s per capita GDP is predicted to eclipse the $20,000 mark, while the Ministry of Strategy and Finance made the same projection in June.
The LG Economic Research Institute reported that the nation’s per capita income is expected to reach $22,998 to $23,866 in 2011 thanks to GNI gains and the won’s continuing appreciation.
내년 1인당 국민 소득 사상 최대치 전망
1인당 국민소득이 올해 2만달러대에 복귀할 것으로 확실시되며 내년에는 사상 최대치를 갈아치울 전망이다.
12일 한국은행에 따르면 올해 명목 GNI는 1조23억달러(1천162조7천억원)가 되며 이를 통계청의 올해 추계인구 4천887만명으로 나누면 1인당 국민소득은 2만510달러(2천379만원)에 이른다. 즉 이달 하순 환율이 폭등하지 않는 한 1인당 국민소득 2만달러 돌파는 무난하다는 게 한은의 설명이다.
1인당 국민소득은 2007년까지 6년간 증가세를 보이다 2008년 국제 금융위기로 1만9천296달러를 기록해 2만달러에 못 미쳤다. 지난해는 5년 만에 가장 적은 1만7천175달러까지 줄었다가 올해 반등했다.
LG경제연구원은 내년 1인당 국민소득은 2만2천998~2만3천866달러에 이를것이라고 했다.