SEOUL  - South Korea's economy grew 0.2 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months -- the slowest pace in nearly three years as the eurozone crisis impacted investment activity."Private consumption grew, while exports rebounded from declines in the previous quarter. But facilities investment continued to drop, weighing on the economic activity," the central Bank of Korea (BOK) said in a statement. The July-September rise was lower than the 0.3 expansion recorded in the second quarter and the slowest since the fourth quarter of 2009, which saw a similar 0.2 percent increase. On a year-on-year basis, gross domestic product in the three months to September 30 was up 1.6 percent, compared to a 2.3 percent on-year gain in the second quarter. Exports, which account for about half of GDP, rose 2.5 percent from the second quarter. South Korea, with an export-led economy, tends to mirror the fortunes of the region and its GDP numbers are often a harbinger of broader trends in Asia.Analysts say Asia's fourth largest economy is expected to rebound in the current quarter, helped by government stimulus and signs of a nascent economic recovery in China, South Korea's largest export destination. Earlier this month, the Bank of Korea cut its growth forecasts for this year and next to 2.4 percent and 3.2 percent respectively, from its July projections of 3.0 percent and 3.8 percent. The central bank is widely expected to keep monetary policy steady for the rest of the year after two rate cuts this year -- in July and in October -- brought the base rate to 2.75 percent. The bank earlier said that quarterly growth was likely to stay below 1.0 percent until the first half of next year."There is some possibility that the full-year growth may hover below the BOK's 2012 growth estimate," said Lee Sang-jae, a senior economist at Hyundai Securities Co."But quarterly growth is seen as hitting the bottom in the third quarter. Uncertainty surrounding a fiscal cliff in the US would hinder the full-fledged recovery, but the local economy is expected to be on the moderate recovery trend," Lee said.South Korea's economy has faltered as the global economic downturn -- and in particular the crisis in the eurozone -- has hit overseas shipments.Korean exports fell year-on-year for the third consecutive month in September while manufacturing activity in the same month contracted at the sharpest rate for nearly four years.The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for September stood at a seasonally adjusted 45.7, compared with 47.5 the previous month.A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing activity, while a reading below that level signals contraction.Domestic demand is also showing signs of weakness, with retail sales steadily falling since May.