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S.Korea’s consumer confidence improves for 5 months

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Confidence

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) stood at 101.6 in April, high with 1.8 points from March, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It kept an upward trend since December 2018, rising above 100 for the first time in seven months.

The reading above 100 indicates optimists outnumbered pessimists.

The country’s real gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.3 per cent in the first quarter from the prior quarter, logging the negative growth in five quarters.

However, expectations ran high for the government’s extra budget of 6.7 trillion won ($5.8 billion), which was forecast to raise the real GDP growth by 0.1 percentage point.

The central government separately distributed $9 billion of tax revenue surplus to local governments in early April.

It was expected to help stimulate the lackluster economy.

The consumer sentiment was also bolstered by stability in the real estate market, caused by the government’s effort to control speculative investment in the property market.

Foreign

S.Korea’s foreign reserves rise to 407.3 bln USD in May

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South Korea‘s foreign reserves rose for two straight months in May as the weak U.S. dollar raised the conversion value of non-dollar assets, central bank data showed Wednesday.

Foreign reserves amounted to 407.3 billion U.S. dollars as of the end of May, up 3.33 billion dollars from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). It increased by 3.77 billion dollars in April.

The expansion came as the dollar weakness lifted the conversion value of non-dollar assets.

The country’s foreign reserves were composed of 365.71 billion dollars of securities, 30.01 billion dollars of deposits, 4.79 billion dollars of gold bullion, 2.8 billion dollars of special drawing rights (SDR) and 3.99 billion dollars of IMF positions.

South Korea was the world‘s ninth-largest holder of foreign reserves as of end-April, unchanged from the previous month.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Pentagon approves S. Korea’s funding plan for local workforce at United States bases

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The Pentagon said Tuesday that it had accepted South Korea‘s proposal to provide over 200 million U.S. dollars to fund the labor costs for all South Korean employees at U.S. military bases there through the end of this year.

The two allies, however, still failed to reach the broader burden-sharing agreement, which is known as the Special Measure Agreement (SMA).

“We strongly encourage our Ally to reach a fair agreement as quickly as possible,” the United States Department of Defense said in a statement.

The 10th SMA, which was struck in March last year, expired at the end of 2019. trillion won (860 million U.S. dollars) last year, up 8.2 percent from the previous year.

Since September last year, the two countries held multiple rounds of negotiations on the 11th SMA, but they failed to reach an agreement following Washington’s demand for a sharp increase in Seoul’s contribution.

More than 4,000 South Korean employees were furloughed due to the lapse of the 10th SMA, according to the statement.

USFK (United States Forces Korea) expects all KN (Korean National) employees to return to work no later than mid-June,” the statement also said.

Since 1991, South Korea has shared the defense cost for U.S. forces here, including costs for South Korean civilians hired by the USFK, construction of military installations, and logistics support.

Around 28,500 U.S. troops are currently stationed in South Korea.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

S/Korea unveils biggest extra budget plan to tackle COVID-19 outbreak

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South Korea unveiled the country’s biggest-ever supplementary budget plan on Wednesday to tackle an economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extra budget plan worth 35.3 trillion won ($28.5 billion) will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

If approved, it would be the country’s largest-ever supplementary budget.

The previous high was 28.4 trillion won ($23 billion) earmarked in 2009 to deal with the global financial crisis.

Of the total, 23.8 trillion won ($19.2 billion) will be financed through the issuance of government bonds, while the remaining 11.5 trillion won ($9.3 billion) will be funded through an adjusted fiscal expenditure.

Minister of Economy and Finance, Hong Nam-ki, who doubles as Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs, told a press briefing that the COVID-19 outbreak roiled domestic demand, such as consumption and investment, as well as export and tourism coming from the global economic downturn.

Hong noted that the worsening of economic situations and the employment shock was coming into a clearer sight, explaining why the government drew up the third extra budget plan in 2020 alone.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

S.Korea unveils biggest extra budget plan to tackle COVID-19 outbreak

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South Korea unveiled the country’s biggest-ever supplementary budget plan Wednesday to tackle an economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extra budget plan worth 35.3 trillion won (28.5 billion U.S. dollars) will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

If approved, it would be the country’s largest-ever supplementary budget. The previous high was 28.4 trillion won (23 billion U.S. dollars) earmarked in 2009 to deal with the global financial crisis.

Of the total, 23.8 trillion won (19.2 billion U.S. dollars) will be financed through the issuance of government bonds, while the remaining 11.5 trillion won (9.3 billion U.S. dollars) will be funded through an adjusted fiscal expenditure.

Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki, who doubles as deputy prime minister for economic affairs, told a press briefing that the COVID-19 outbreak roiled domestic demand, such as consumption and investment, as well as export and tourism coming from the global economic downturn.

Hong noted that the worsening of economic situations and the employment shock was coming into a clearer sight, explaining why the government drew up the third extra budget plan in 2020 alone.

(XINHUA)

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S.Korea reports 49 more COVID-19 cases, 11,590 in total

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South Korea reported 49 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Wednesday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,590.

The daily caseload stayed above 30 for three straight days due to small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area.

Of the new cases, three were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,269.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 273. The total fatality rate stood at 2.36 percent.

A total of 21 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,467. The total recovery rate was 90.3 percent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 956,000 people, among whom 917,397 tested negative for the virus and 27,865 are being checked.

(XINHUA)

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S. Korea’s consumer price falls 0.3 pct in May

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South Korea‘s consumer price fell 0.3 percent in May from a year earlier, marking the first fall in eight months, statistical office data showed Tuesday.

The consumer price index stood at 104.71 in May, down 0.3 percent from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. It was the first decline in eight months since September last year.

The consumer price inflation stayed below 1 percent during the entire year of 2019, before rising above 1 percent from January to March this year. The headline inflation fell below 1 percent in April.

Oil product price plunged 18.7 percent in May from a year earlier amid cheaper crude oil.

Price for industrial products slipped 2.0 percent, but price for agricultural, livestock and fishery products gained 3.1 percent last month.

(XINHUA)

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S.Korea reports 38 more COVID-19 cases, 11,541 in total

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South Korea reported 38 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Tuesday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,541.

The daily caseload stayed above 30 for two straight days due to small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area.

Of the new cases, two were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,266.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 272. The total fatality rate stood at 2.36 percent.

A total of 24 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,446. The total recovery rate was 90.5 percent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 939,000 people, among whom 899,388 tested negative for the virus and 28,922 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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Foreign

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

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