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S. Korea Q1 GDP grows 0.9 pct on-quarter

South Korea's economy grew at the fastest pace for a year on a quarterly basis in January-March due to strong industrial output, the central bank said Thursday.

A rise in demand and strong government spending also helped offset softness in the construction and agricultural sectors.

Gross domestic product rose 0.9 percent in the first quarter from October-December 2011, when the economy had grown 0.3 percent from July-September.

It was the highest quarter-on-quarter figure since 1.3 percent in January-March 2011.

The faster growth was partly due to a low base of comparison in the fourth quarter of 2011, when the economy slowed sharply amid weaker global demand.

Year-on-year GDP expanded 2.8 percent, the slowest on-year growth rate for two and a half years.

The figures were largely in line with market expectations. A poll of nine economists by Dow Jones Newswires tipped a 0.8 percent quarter-on-quarter rise and a 2.9 percent year-on-year expansion.

The export-dominated economy expects a continued slowdown in European demand. The finance ministry has said it would heavily front-load this year's budget spending in the first half.

Analysts expect growth to slow in the current quarter, although a contraction is unlikely.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report --

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