[THE INVESTOR] Korea's yearly private consumption grew at the fastest rate in seven years in 2018, data from the Bank of Korea showed on Jan. 27.
The private consumption grew 2.8 percent through 2018, marking the highest figure since the 2.9 percent posted in 2011.
A consumer buys groceries at a traditional market in Seoul on Jan. 22.
The country's growth in terms of private consumption earlier remained in the 1 percent level from 2012 to 2014. It reached 2.2 percent in 2015 and posted a gradual recovery to 2.6 percent in 2017.
The private consumption's growth also outpaced overall economic growth for the first time in 13 years in 2018, indicated the data. The Korean economy grew 2.7 percent on-year in 2018. In 2005, the private consumption grew 4.4 percent, compared with the economic growth of 3.9 percent.
Korea's middle-class households purchased more home appliances, including air purifiers, amid the rising concerns over fine dust striking the country. In the first half, sales of imported cars also increased as local chains sought to offload inventories.
The country's introduction of 52-hour workweek policy and an increase in the minimum wage induced people to spend more on leisure services. Also, PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which ran in February supported consumption, contributed to the rise in the figure.
As for 2019, the central bank expects the private consumption to rise 2.6 percent on-year, which is equal to the outlook for the economy.
By Son Ji-hyoung and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)