In early May we alerted you to the bullish case for buying South Korean equities. And the latest comments from top government officials only adds to our optimisim…
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South Korea’s Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan is ruling out a drop in third-quarter growth, despite signs of a slowdown in some global economies.
“Regarding speculations of (economy) moving even to minus, I have never thought about it. Comparing to the last quarter, it wasn’t (declining).”
With Japan making steady progress in restoring quake-hit supply chains, and China likely to avoid a hard landing, Bahk says he’s confident the two biggest economies in Asia will enjoy growth this year.
“Japan will likely post a fast rebound and China, although inflation pressures will build, will enjoy sound growth.”
South Korea’s economy is heavily dependent on exports for growth, as private consumption remains sluggish due to a weak property market.
But June exports grew by their slowest annual pace since October 2009, while the manufacturing sector suffered its slowest monthly expansion in seven months.
Inflation is also stubbornly high, although Bahk refused to comment, when asked if the government would allow the won to continue its appreciation.
Markets are speculating that Seoul is allowing the won to appreciate to help cushion high prices.
The won is up nearly seven percent this year against the dollar.