South Korea is unlikely to reach its long-held target of $30,000 in gross national income per capita this year, as its economy is losing steam at a faster pace, local experts said Sunday.
The GNI per capita refers to the total domestic and foreign output by residents of a country, reflecting the income level of the economy.
South Korea's GNI per capita was $27,340 in 2015, ranking 46th in the world, with 43 countries over the $30,000 level, regarded as "advanced economies."
For last year, South Korea's GNI per capita is expected to stay unchanged from the previous year's numbers, considering economic growth, foreign exchange rates and population, according to the experts.
Asia's fourth-largest economy expanded 2.7 percent last year, the 10th-fastest pace among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, while the Korean won lost ground against the US dollar.
"Given many other factors based on the growth rate for 2016, the GNI per capita will likely stand unmoved at $27,000," said Oh Jung-geun, a professor at Konkuk University.
South Korea has failed to pierce the $30,000 level for 10 years since it first reached the $20,000 line in 2006.
For 2017, the expert expected the country to also remain in the range of $25,000-$29,000, as it is showing no clear signs of clear rebound amid rising uncertainties at home and abroad.
The South Korean government earlier set its growth target at 2.6 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from the previous year's growth, while some private institutions forecast that the economy will grow 2 percent due to faltering business and consumer sentiments.
"Exports may slow down some extent due to a weakening Japanese yen," said the professor. "Also, corporate investment has been dampened by the recent political turmoil. It seems very unlikely that GNI per capita will reach $30,000." (Yonhap)