KOREA REPORT - MARCH, 2019.
particulate pollution blanketed most of SKorea on 5th, prompting
authorities to enforce emergency measures to combat fine dust again on 6th for
a sixth consecutive day. Seoul¡¯s hourly average level of ultrafine particles
recorded 184 micrograms per cbm as of 4 pm. In a related move, Seoul
Metropolitan Office of Education banned outdoor classes and activities at all
elementary and secondary schools in the capital all day. SKorea¡¯s authorities
have classified levels of PM 2.5 above 35 micrograms per cbm as ¡°bad¡± and above
75 micrograms as ¡°very bad,¡± while the WHO recommends keeping levels below 25
The number of newborns
in SKorea came to 30,300 in Jan, down 6.2% on-year, marking the lowest
number of births for any Jan since 1981. As of 2018, Korea¡¯s total fertility
rate hit a record low of 0.98.
US national security
adviser John Bolton said Trump gave Kim a ¡°big-deal¡± document listing what the
North should do in return for economic rewards. The talks broke down
because Kim did not accept Trump¡¯s proposal, and this should raise doubts as to
Kim¡¯s commitment to disarmament. ¡°The issue, really, was whether NK was
prepared to accept what the president called ¡®the big deal,¡¯ which is
denuclearize entirely under a definition the president handed to Kim Jong-un,
and have the potential for an enormous economic future,¡± Bolton said. In short,
Kim tried to get sanctions relief in exchange for partial disarmament.
Korea¡¯s gross national
income per capita stood at $31,349 last year, up 5.4% on-year. It has taken SKorea 12 years to raise its per
capita GNI from $20,000 to the $30,000 mark, a period longer than the average
of other developed countries due to the 2008-20009 global financial crisis.
Japan and Germany spent five years in the $20,000-$30,000 bottleneck, while the
US and Australia spent nine years. SKorea ranked ninth in per capita GNI among
countries with 20 mil or more people, standing next to the US, Japan, Britain, France,
Germany, Canada, Austria and Italy. SKorea would be the
seventh country in the world to join the so-called 30-50 club of economic
powerhouses with a population of over 50 mil and capita GNI exceeding $30,000.
The development is a dramatic increase from 1970, when SKorea's per capita GNI
stood at just $257.
(SEC) on 26th announced that it foresees lower-than-expected earnings for the
first quarter of this year. An announcement like this is unprecedented and raises concerns
that another earnings shock might be ahead for the company, after first one in
the final quarter of last year. SEC¡¯s operating profit for the first quarter is
estimated around KW7.9 tril, down 49% on year. The display business suffered
price falls in LCD panels and declining demand for flexible OLED panels.
SKorea is the ¡°clear
leader¡± in the 5G National Leadership Index, ahead of the US,
Australia, Switzerland and Finland, according to London-based Arthur D Little.
At the beginning of March, ADL released the 5G National Leadership Index,
citing SKorea as the most advanced for 5G technology available at 2018
PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
KDB Chairman Lee
Dong-geol described DSME acquisition by HHI ¡°timely,¡± as DSME¡¯s
privatization couldn¡¯t wait another chance and the company¡¯s future would be
put in uncertainty otherwise. On a question of the laborers and the community, Lee said that ¡°one can¡¯t say the laborers
are free of any responsibilities, as they are also members of the company.¡±
The due diligence would take place from early April for two months. He noted,
¡°the merger is not just win-win, but rather win-win-win-win,¡± including two
yards, workers, and the local economy. ¡°The timing is perfect for the merger
when the market is entering a growth phase, which can minimize the pain caused
by M&A,¡± Lee said.
ultrafine particulate pollution blanketed most of SKorea on 5th [p.2]
UN Secretary General KM Ban appointed as head of new anti-pollution committee [p.2]
of 2018, Korea¡¯s total fertility rate hit a record low of 0.98 [p.5]
Bolton said NK was not ready to accept the US president¡¯s ¡®the big deal¡¯ [p.6]
Joseon claimed to have carried out the Feb 22 break-in the NK embassy in Madrid
of the population of NK are believed to be in need of humanitarian assistance [p.8]
country¡¯s GNI per capita stood at $31,349 last year [p.9]
revised down outlook for SKorea¡¯s economic growth for 2019 to 2.1% [p.10]
trade surplus came to $5.3 bil in March [p.10]
foresees lower-than-expected earnings for the first quarter of this year [p.12]
Motor is expected to construct its 105-story high new headquarters in Seoul [p.13]
Yang-ho, chairman of Korean Air, lost his board seat on 27th [p.15]
took up 18.9% of the global smartphone market [p.15]
investors remained net buyers of SKorean stocks for third consecutive month in
foreign exchange reserves amounted to $405.3 bil in March [p.17]
Chairman Lee Dong-geol described DSME acquisition by HHI ¡°timely¡± [p.18]
faces many obstacles to acquire DSME as it has to win approval from 30 nations [p.19]
and overseas creditors of Hanjin HIC have decided to go into debt-equity swap [p.22]
plans to aid construction and conversion of over 180 ocean-going ships this