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South Korea's mortgage rates balloon, dampening spending

Economy continues to slow as central bank focuses on protecting the won

Seoul's Myeong-dong district, known for international fashion brands and luxury department stores. High interest rates have become a significant burden on households. (Photo by Hiroshi Minegishi)

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy has slowed as rate hikes aimed at controlling inflation and protecting the won have pushed up mortgage rates and weakened consumer spending.

Real gross domestic product grew 2.6% in 2022, the Bank of Korea estimated Thursday -- a slowing from the 4.1% of 2021. The central bank projects growth of just 1.7% in 2023.

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