South Korea’s GDP grew 2.8 percent year-on-year for the first quarter 2012, slipping to its weakest level in two and a half years, according to figures published by the central bank on Thursday.

The country’s economy expanded in the quarter by 0.9 percent thanks to gains in exports and improved domestic demand. The consumer confidence index climbed to 104 in April, the highest since May last year.

GDP results come just a month after the central bank reduced the country’s growth forecast from the previous 3.7 percent to 3.5 percent for 2012.

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