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S. Korea reports 23 more COVID-19 cases, 11,165 in total

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South Korea reported 23 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Saturday, bringing the total number of infections to 11,165.

The daily caseload stayed above 20 for the second straight day. Of the new cases, four were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,204.

Two more deaths were confirmed, raising the death toll at 266. The total fatality rate stood at 2.38 percent.

A total of 32 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,194. The total recovery rate was 91.3 percent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 814,000 people, among whom 781,686 tested negative for the virus and 21,569 are being checked.

(XINHUA)

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S.Korea’s institutional investment in foreign securities falls in Q1

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South Korea’s institutional investment in foreign securities fell in the first quarter due to financial volatility caused by the COVID-19 outbreak across the world, central bank data showed Monday.

Outstanding foreign securities, owned by local financial institutions, stood at 317.8 billion United States dollars as of the end of March, down 9.6 billion dollars, or 2.9 percent, from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It came as the coronavirus pandemic increased volatility in the global financial market.

Domestic asset managers reduced their holdings of foreign securities by 7.3 billion dollars, while the ownership by insurers and securities firms declined by 2.3 billion dollars and 10 million dollars each.

The holdings of foreign stocks and bonds diminished by 5.2 billion dollars and 4.9 billion dollars respectively during the first quarter, but the ownership of Korean Paper grew by 0.5 billion dollars.

The Korean Paper is a foreign currency-denominated bond sold overseas by local institutions or companies.

(XINHUA)

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Roundup: S.Korea’s export posts double-digit fall for 2 months

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South Korea’s export posted a double-digit fall for two straight months through May as global demand weakened amid the COVID-19 outbreak across the world, a government report showed Monday.

Export, which accounts for about half of the export-driven economy, amounted to 34.86 billion United States dollars in May, down 23.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The outbound shipment dropped in double figures for two months in a row. In April, the export dived 25.1 percent.

The daily average export retreated 18.4 percent as the coronavirus pandemic roiled global demand for locally-made products.

The import contracted 21.1 percent from a year earlier to 34.42 billion dollars in May on the back of lower global crude oil price and slumped 15.8 percent in April.

Trade balance recorded a surplus of 440 million dollars in May, after posting a deficit of 1.39 billion dollars in April.

The ministry said the country’s export is anticipated to rebound in accordance with the economic recovery of major economies given that South Korea’s export fall in April and May did not stem from the country’s structural problem such as the weakened export competitiveness.

It noted that South Korea’s export to China is being improved as China‘s economic recovery was the fastest among major economies, forecasting that the country’s shipment to the United States and the European Union (EU) would recover according to the easing of the COVID-19 fallout in these regions.

Export to China, South Korea‘s biggest trading partner, fell 2.8 percent in May from a year earlier after sliding 17.9 percent in the previous month, while its daily average shipment advanced 4.0 percent.

Exports to the United States and the EU plunged 29.3 percent and 25.0 percent each last month, with shipment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) skidding 30.2 percent.

Shipment to Japan, the Middle East, Latin America and India all plummeted in double digits in the month.

Export for automobiles, auto parts and textiles plunged in double digits last month as the products are sensitive to a business cycle. The ministry predicted a rebound of the products export in accordance with the recovery of major economies.

Oil product shipment plummeted 69.9 percent due to cheaper crude oil and weaker demand. Petrochemicals export sank 34.3 percent amid the supply glut.

Outbound shipment for general machinery, display panels, steel products, mobile phones and consumer electronics all declined in double figures last month amid the global economic slump.

However, semiconductor export advanced 7.1 percent in May from a year earlier, marking the first rebound in 18 months. It was attributable to robust demand for chips used for personal computers (PCs) and servers.

The daily average export for semiconductors jumped 14.5 percent last month.

Computer shipment soared 82.7 percent in May, continuing to grow for the eighth consecutive month.

Demand for computer remained strong as companies encouraged employees to work at home with laptops or PCs amid the fear over the COVID-19 spread, while solid state drive (SSD) shipment rose on an increased server capacity.

Ship export picked up 35.9 percent on demand for LNG carrier, containership and oil tanker, and biopharmaceutical shipment kept expanding for the ninth straight month on demand for locally-made testing kits and medical supplies relevant to the COVID-19.

(XINHUA)

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S.Korean gov’t revises down 2020 growth outlook to 0.1 pct

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South Korea’s government revised down its 2020 economic growth outlook to 0.1 percent Monday owing to an expected economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak across the world.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance said that real gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, is forecast to grow 0.1 percent this year. It was sharply down from the ministry’s previous expectation of 2.4 percent expansion unveiled six months earlier.

The real GDP increased 2.0 percent in 2019, after expanding 2.7 percent in 2018.

The ministry’s outlook is higher than the Bank of Korea (BOK)’s forecast. The BOK expected the economy to contract 0.2 percent this year, much lower than the bank’s previous expectation of 2.1 percent growth.

With the gloomier outlook, the BOK slashed its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a new all-time low of 0.50 percent last week. The central bank lowered the key rate by 50 basis points in March.

The country’s real GDP dived 1.4 percent in the January-March quarter from the prior quarter, marking the biggest quarterly fall in over 11 years since the fourth quarter of 2008.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected the South Korean economy to plummet 1.2 percent in 2020, while the state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI) projected a 0.2-percent increase this year.

Since the BOK began compiling the GDP data in 1953, South Korea recorded a negative growth only twice in 1980 and 1998.

(XINHUA)

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S. Korea reports 35 more COVID-19 cases, 11,503 in total

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South Korea reported 35 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Monday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,503.

After peaking at 79 on Thursday, the daily caseload continued to fall to 27 on Sunday, but it rebounded on Monday amid small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area.

Of the new cases, five were imported, lifting the combined figure to 1,264.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 271. The total fatality rate stood at 2.36 percent.

A total of 17 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number of recoveries to 10,422. The total recovery rate was 90.6 percent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 921,000 people, among whom 885,830 tested negative for the virus and 24,058 are being checked.

(XINHUA)

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S/Korea reports 27 more COVID-19 cases

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South Korea reported 27 more cases of COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0.00 a.m. on Sunday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,468.

The daily caseload fell below 30 in five days.

The confirmed cases rose fast in recent days due to a cluster infection at a logistics centre of local e-commerce operator Coupang in Bucheon, west of the capital Seoul.

Of the new cases, 12 were imported, lifting the combined figure to 1,259.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 270.

The total fatality rate stood at 2.35 per cent.

Seven more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,405.

The total recovery rate was 90.7 per cent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 910,000 people, among whom 876,060 tested negative for the virus and 23,294 are being checked.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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S. Korea reports 27 more COVID-19 cases, 11,468 in total

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South Korea reported 27 more cases of COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Sunday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,468.

The daily caseload fell below 30 in five days. The confirmed cases rose fast in recent days due to a cluster infection at a logistics center of local e-commerce operator Coupang in Bucheon, west of the capital Seoul.

Of the new cases, 12 were imported, lifting the combined figure to 1,259.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 270. The total fatality rate stood at 2.35 percent.

Seven more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,405. The total recovery rate was 90.7 percent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 910,000 people, among whom 876,060 tested negative for the virus and 23,294 are being checked.

(XINHUA)

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S. Korea’s daily COVID-19 tally drops below 40 amid push to contain cluster infection

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South Korea’s daily number of new coronavirus cases dropped below 40 Saturday, amid a stepped-up push to contain cluster infections traced to a distribution center just west of Seoul and fend off a potential virus resurgence.

The country logged 39 additional COVID-19 cases, down 19 from the previous day, bringing the total caseload to 11,441, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The latest tally marked a drop from the nearly two-month high of 79 on Thursday. But the authorities remained on high alert amid concerns recent bouts of infections could hamper efforts to return to normal after months of the grueling fight against the pandemic that has disrupted daily life and dented economic growth.

In a renewed plea for public cooperation, KCDC Deputy Director Kwon Joon-wook said that the next two weeks will be a “crucial juncture” in flattening the infection curve.

“We need to take greater caution, particularly in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area,” he told a regular press briefing.

“When the scale of COVID-19 infections grows, the virus could infiltrate medical, welfare and religious facilities where there are many vulnerable classes of people,” he added.

He also said that there could “inevitably” be long-term restrictions imposed on operations of facilities that have not properly practiced everyday social distancing.

The slowdown in new infections appears to be attributable to the health and quarantine officials’ aggressive campaign to stop the spread of infections from a distribution center of e-commerce leader Coupang in Bucheon.

The facility has emerged as a focus of the country’s containment campaign following mass infections traced to clubs and bars in the nightlife district of Itaewon in central Seoul.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, the number of virus cases traced to the Coupang center was 108, an increase of six from a day earlier, the KCDC said, urging citizens to avoid large crowds and outdoor activities over the weekend.

All of the 108 cases were confirmed in Seoul and its surrounding areas. Of them, 73 patients are employees of the center with the remainder being people that came into close contact with them.

The number of infections linked to Itaewon clubs reached 269 as of noon Saturday, up three from the previous day, according to the KCDC.

“We are conducting tests on and putting into self-quarantine all the employees who have worked at the logistics center since May 12,” Kwon said.

The cases from the logistics center have laid bare the vulnerabilities of enclosed workplaces, particularly those where social distancing protocols are loosely applied due to heavy workloads.

The drop in new cases in Saturday’s tally was a relief for the quarantine authorities fretful over the possible new wave of infections.

Late last week, the daily number of new cases hovered a little over 20 and then dropped below 20 early this week. But the figure shot up to 40 on Wednesday and to 79 the following day, with Friday’s tally standing at 58.

Despite the slowdown, the health authorities remain wary of additional transmission, as a high-school third grader in the southeastern city of Busan was confirmed to have contracted the virus on Friday, the first case since schools recently started phased reopenings.

The KCDC said that 27 of Saturday’s new cases were confirmed in Seoul and its surrounding areas, while the southern cities of Daegu and Gwangju reported two new cases each. Busan, South Jeolla Province and Gwangwon Province added one case apiece.

The country, meanwhile, added 12 imported cases and reported no additional deaths, with the total death toll staying at 269.

The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 10,398, up 35 from the previous day.

In related news, the defense ministry said that one of the 12 COVID-19 patients in the military, whose infections are linked to the Itaewon district, fully recovered from the infectious disease in the first such recovery case related to the cluster infection.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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S.Korea reports 39 more COVID-19 cases, 11,441 in total

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South Korea reported 39 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Saturday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,441.

The daily caseload fell below 40 in four days. The confirmed cases rose fast for the past three days due to a cluster infection at a logistics center of local e-commerce operator Coupang in Bucheon, just west of the capital Seoul.

Of the new cases, 12 were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,247.

No more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 269. The total fatality rate stood at 2.35 percent.

A total of 35 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,398. The total recovery rate was 90.9 percent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 902,000 people, among whom 865,162 tested negative for the virus and 26,298 are being checked.

(XINHUA)

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North Korea accuses U.S. of hurting its image with cyber threat warning

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North Korea on Friday accused the United States of smear tactics after Washington renewed accusations last month that Pyongyang was responsible for malicious cyber attacks.

It was the latest in a series of exchanges underscoring the friction between the two countries after denuclearisation talks launched by U.S. President Donald Trumpand North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stalled late in 2019.

“We want to make it clear that our country has nothing to do with the so-called ‘cyber threat’ that the U.S. is talking about,’’ North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in the statement.

It said Washington was trying to use the allegations as leverage, along with the issues of nuclear missiles and human rights as well as accusations of terrorism funding and money laundering.

The aim was to “smear our country’s image and create a way to shake us up’’, it said.

The U.S. State Department, Treasury, and Department of Homeland Security Issues, along with the FBI, issued a new warning last month about the threat of North Korean hackers, calling pparticular attention to financial services.

North Korea is alleged to be behind an ambitious, years-long campaign of digital theft, including siphoning cash from ATMs, stealing from major banks, extorting computer users worldwide, and hijacking digital currency exchanges.

Since 2006, the country has been subject to U.N. sanctions that have been strengthened by the Security Council over the years in a bid to cut off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

This week, the U.S. Justice Department accused the country’s state-owned bank of evading U.S. sanctions laws and said it had charged 28 North Korean and five Chinese citizens in its latest crackdown on alleged sanction violations.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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