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  Korea Report - March 2019
  Author : Hwang & Co     Date : 19-04-05 17:15     Hit : 1665    
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KOREA REPORT - MARCH, 2019.


Thick ultrafine 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. Seouls 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. SKoreas 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 micrograms.


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, Koreas 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 Trumps proposal, and this should raise doubts as to Kims 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.


Koreas 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.


Samsung Electronics (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. SECs 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 DSMEs privatization couldnt wait another chance and the companys future would be put in uncertainty otherwise. On a question of the laborers and the community, Lee said that one cant 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.



TOPICS.


Thick ultrafine particulate pollution blanketed most of SKorea on 5th [p.2]


Former UN Secretary General KM Ban appointed as head of new anti-pollution committee [p.2]


As of 2018, Koreas total fertility rate hit a record low of 0.98 [p.5]


John Bolton said NK was not ready to accept the US presidents the big deal [p.6]


Free Joseon claimed to have carried out the Feb 22 break-in the NK embassy in Madrid [p.8]


43% of the population of NK are believed to be in need of humanitarian assistance [p.8]


The countrys GNI per capita stood at $31,349 last year [p.9]


Moodys revised down outlook for SKoreas economic growth for 2019 to 2.1% [p.10]


SKorea's trade surplus came to $5.3 bil in March [p.10]


SEC foresees lower-than-expected earnings for the first quarter of this year [p.12]


Hyundai Motor is expected to construct its 105-story high new headquarters in Seoul [p.13]


Cho Yang-ho, chairman of Korean Air, lost his board seat on 27th [p.15]


SEC took up 18.9% of the global smartphone market [p.15]


Offshore investors remained net buyers of SKorean stocks for third consecutive month in Feb [p.17]


SKorea's foreign exchange reserves amounted to $405.3 bil in March [p.17]


KDB Chairman Lee Dong-geol described DSME acquisition by HHI timely [p.18]


HHI faces many obstacles to acquire DSME as it has to win approval from 30 nations [p.19]


Korean and overseas creditors of Hanjin HIC have decided to go into debt-equity swap [p.22]


MOF plans to aid construction and conversion of over 180 ocean-going ships this year [p.23]



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