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Japan is known for its “Abenomics”… but now South Korea is on the map with its “Choi-nomics,” thanks to Choi Kyung-hwan, its new Finance Minister.
The veteran lawmaker and close ally of President Park Geun-hye took office a little over a month ago. In that short timeframe, he’s already making quite the impression.
“Choi introduced a $40-billion stimulus package in July, including a big public spending plan and the easing of mortgage rules. He said he wants to get the economy moving again after the Sewol ferry disaster shook confidence across the nation.”
The maritime disaster (South Korea’s most tragic in two decades) killed more than 300 people. In response, consumer sentiment took a nosedive, falling to an eight-month low in May.
The market bounced back a little in June, but since, it’s deteriorated…
Choi Brings South Korea Back Afloat
But with Choi in office, housing transactions jumped 94% in July (compared to the year prior).
The reason? A dramatic shift in policy. The central bank cut the benchmark interest in August, something that hasn’t happened in 15 months.
With Choi’s quick innovation, he’s slowly catching on as a true people’s man. From visiting locals during his summer vacation to professing his dedication to South Korea’s economic revival, he’s certainly making his intentions known.
But some people aren’t totally convinced. Professor Sung Tae-yoon, of Yonsei University, points out that fine details are missing in the long-term measures: “To revive the economy in the long run, it’s important to lift restrictions on housing and property markets to stop asset prices from dropping, and strengthening the service industry to fuel overall domestic demands. But I don’t think any details regarding these important points have been confirmed so far.”
So even though South Korea has more than a few wrinkles to iron out, one thing’s for certain: Its new Finance Minister is making strides, and the markets are responding positively.
In pursuit of the truth,
Politics Research Team