South Korea has fallen into recession as the country reels from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy saw GDP fall by a worse-than-expected 2.9% in year-on-year terms, the steepest decline since 1998.
Exports, which account for nearly 40% of the economy, were the biggest drag as they fell by the most since 1963.
In recent weeks official figures have confirmed that both Japan and Singapore have also gone into recession but South Korea’s finance minister Hong Nam-ki remains optimistic that the economy will recover swiftly.
“It’s possible for us to see China-style rebound in the third quarter as the pandemic slows and activity in overseas production, schools and hospitals resume,” Mr Hong said.
The South Korean government has so far implemented about 277 trillion won ($231bn) worth of stimulus measures to tackle the effects of the pandemic on its economy.
However, authorities in the trade-reliant nation have very little control over exports, ranging from computer memory chips to cars.
In another indication of how Covid-19 has hit the region’s exporters, Australia has reported its biggest budget deficit since the Second Word War.
The country has swung to a deficit of 73.5 trillion won ($61.3bn) for the year ended in June 2020.