Jul 23, 4:30 AM EDT

South Korea's growth slows to lowest level in more than 2 years, hit by severe drought, MERS


AP Photo
AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Buy AP Photo Reprints
Multimedia
Swift negotiations free U.S. journalists
Timeline of U.S.-North Korea relations
Timeline of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs
Depth of Field: North Korea
A look at Kim Jong Il
Truth emerges about Kim Soo-im
Commission: U.S. military killed Korean refugees
South Koreans Protest U.S. Beef Accord
S. Korea Women Keep Diving Tradition Alive
Bittersweet Homecoming: Koreans Return Home After 68 Years in Russia
Latest News
For North Korea, whose nuclear arms symbolize regime's success, Iran-style deal not an option

Colder than Malibu, more buttoned-down than Bondi, North Korea seen as possible surf spot

NK ambassador to China says North Korea not interested in talks for Iran-style nuclear deal

With warning to US, North Korea marks anniversary of end of the Korean War

South Korea's police arrest man for allegedly making online threat to kill US ambassador

Multimedia
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
US economy likely rebounded to solid growth rate in spring quarter after harsh winter

Survey: German consumers remain optimistic but showing signs of worry about Greek situation

US Treasury secretary says Puerto Rico's government should be given access to bankruptcy soon

British economic growth picks up in second quarter with 0.7 percent growth

Italian group confirms discussions regarding investment in Economist Group

What slowdown? 90 percent of Chinese still say their economy is good; most of world is gloomy

South Korea's growth slows to lowest level in more than 2 years, hit by severe drought, MERS

NYC OKs $50,000 settlement with pepper-sprayed Occupy protester, after $333K to 6 others

IMF picks White House economic adviser Obstfeld to be chief economist

Central bank chiefs see economic progress despite Chinese stock plunge, Greek debt crisis

Interactives
Greece's Debt Threatens to Spread
State budget
gaps map
Auto industry problems trickle down, punish Tennessee county
Women give old Derby hats a makeover in tough economy
S.C. town deals with highest unemployment in South
How mortgages were bundled and sold as securities
Tracking the $700 billion financial bailout
Tracking the year's job losses
State-by-state foreclosures since 2007
Credit crisis explained
Presidents and their economic legacies
Lexicon of the financial crisis
Americans' addiction to debt

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's quarterly growth slowed to the lowest in more than two years as a severe drought hit agriculture and an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome sapped consumption.

The economy expanded 2.2 percent in the second quarter over a year earlier, the Bank of Korea said Thursday. That's the lowest since the first quarter of 2013. Asia's fourth-largest economy eked out 0.3 percent growth from the previous quarter.

The bank said private consumption turned negative as spending on services dropped while agricultural output plunged due to a drought.

South Korea's economy was expected to ebb last quarter as foreign tourists cancelled visits and people stayed home because of the MERS outbreak which began in May and has killed 36 people.

No new confirmed cases of MERS have been reported in South Korea since July 4 and tourist numbers have begun to recover.

To help local restaurants, retailers, hotels and tourism industries, the government has been encouraging South Koreans to spend their vacations within South Korea.

Other areas of the economy including exports and private investment were also weak.

South Korea's finance ministry is seeking parliamentary approval for a $10.6 billion stimulus package to aid recovery and to achieve annual growth of 3 percent this year.

But many forecasters, including South Korea's central bank, predict that the country's economy will expand less than 3 percent in 2015, which would mean a slowdown from the previous two years.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.