Goldman Sees Korea Passing $30,000 Income Milestone in 2018

(Bloomberg) -- South Korea is poised to achieve its long-held goal of surpassing annual per capita income of $30,000, a level regarded as marking the ascension to a developed economy.

That’s according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which forecasts that South Korea will pass the threshold next year, as economic growth tops 3 percent and the won steadily appreciates.

Accelerating global growth, an extension of the business investment cycle and a pickup in domestic consumption should fuel a robust expansion in South Korea next year, with the Bank of Korea benchmark rate reaching 2 percent by year-end,  Goldman Sachs economists Kwon Goohoon and Irene Choi wrote in a report.

Goldman Sees Korea Passing $30,000 Income Milestone in 2018

Surpassing $30,000 in per capita income would mark the latest milestone in South Korea’s rapid economic development. Its per capita income first exceeded $10,000 in 1994 and topped $20,000 in 2006. Last year it was $27,561. Former presidents Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak had both pledged to achieve the growth needed to push the country past $30,000.

Korea would become only the ninth country in the Group of 20 nations to break through the threshold, surpassing Spain and breaking out of the $20,000-$30,000 range more quickly than Italy and Canada, the Goldman economists wrote.

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