South Korea's chief economic policymaker said Friday that it is the right time for the country to reform its economic structure as its main growth engines, including the automaking and the shipbuilding industries, are undergoing a slump.
"Our leading sectors are seeing their growth losing momentum, and it is a golden time to restructure our economic structure," Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said during a visit to a company in Seoul.
The minister said the country's facility investment has declined for five straight months through July, and the country's dependence on the chipmaking sector has been deepening.
The top official said the government will continue its efforts for deregulation, which will help nurture new industries and in turn boost employment.
Meanwhile, the minister said the government is working on a set of measures to stabilize the local housing market.
"The government is closely looking into the market ... and the current price hikes are being driven by speculative moves and hopes for an additional rise in prices," the minister said.
The country has been experiencing skyrocketing housing prices in Seoul and surrounding areas, despite a series of government-led financial and administrative measures.
The government has imposed a ban on bank loans given to owners of multiple homes, forbidden people from reselling apartment purchase rights and levied higher taxes on real estate transactions.
Despite such measures, speculative homebuyers have not budged an inch, and the upward trend of apartment prices in the Seoul area has accelerated.
This has led to the government and the ruling party to consider enacting even stronger measures to cool the property market down ahead of the autumn moving season.
The policies under review include imposing higher comprehensive real estate taxes on expensive houses and increasing the supply of apartments in Seoul and the surrounding areas to strike a better balance between supply and demand, and help tame soaring prices.(Yonhap)