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South Korea's GDP up 5.8% for year

South Korea's biggest exporters include Hyundai Motor and Samsung Electronics
South Korea's biggest exporters include Hyundai Motor and Samsung Electronics

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SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea's third-quarter gross domestic product grew a provisional 1.3 percent from the June quarter and 5.8 percent from the same quarter a year earlier.

While the year-on-year figure was below an average forecast of 6.2 percent, Asia's fourth-biggest economy is still showing the fastest growth rate among the world's large industrialized economies.

South Korea's Kospi stock market index responded to release of the figures Friday with a solid rise, up about 1.8 percent to 703.11 in early trade.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is up 2.4 percent to 378,000 won and fund favorite SK Telecom is up about 0.6 percent at 245,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, one of Korea's biggest exporters, is more than 3 percent higher.

The Korean won is trading steady at 1212.9 to the U.S. dollar.

Soft landing

ABN Amro economist Franklin Poon told CNN that he was still looking at a "soft landing scenario" for South Korea, despite the slowdown in consumer spending.

Poon said private consumption was down quarter-on-quarter for the first time since 1998 and would likely slow further.

But he said Korea had built market share through its export competitive advantage in recent years, and this would help achieve a soft landing for the economy.

Poon noted that Korea's trade with Asia, including China, was becoming more important.

The September quarter's growth of 1.3 percent was in line with a forecast of 1.1 to 1.3 percent in a Reuters survey of 10 economists.

Expansion pace slowing

Despite recovering exports, the seasonally adjusted pace of economic expansion slowed from a 1.4 percent advance in the June quarter and a 1.9 percent rise in the March quarter .

South Korea is braced for slowing consumer spending, a key driver of growth in the country since last year.

The agricultural and fishing sectors shrank from a year ago due to the impact of drought and typhoons.

That saw the economy's annualized overall growth rate of 5.8 percent come in below an average forecast of 6.2 percent.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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