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KOREA REPORT - MAY, 2019.
President Moon marked two years in office on 2nd, and his
presidency faces daunting challenges on many fronts, from NK to economy to political and social polarization.
SKoreans are giving Moon relatively poor grades for his performance. Moon, who
started his five-year term with an approval rating of 84%, maintained almost
the same level of popularity, 83%, when he celebrated his administration¡¯s first anniversary last May. Since
then it has nose-dived to 45%, according to the latest Gallup poll, released
last week of April. Moon received his lowest score for economic management,
with only 23%. Appointments of senior officials came next with 26%, followed by
employment with 29% and NK policy with 45%.
BTS took home two awards and rocked the
stage to a cheering crowd at this year¡¯s Billboard Music Awards, which took place at MGM Grand Garden
Arena in Las Vegas on 1st. The achievement was the latest in a series of
record-breaking feats the septet has pulled off, including having three US No 1
albums in a year, matched by only two other artists, The Beatles and The
Monkees in the 1960s. Bong Joon-ho¡¯s social satire ¡°Parasite¡± made history on 25th by becoming first Korean film to win
Palme d¡¯Or, top award at Cannes Film Festival. Bong called the award a ¡°very great gift¡± from the Cannes festival, noting that this is the 100th
anniversary of Korean cinema. ¡°Parasite¡± is described
to be a black comedy about unexpected series of events when a poor family of
hustlers encounter a wealthy one.
President Trump on 26th downplayed potential danger of NK¡¯s missile launches, just a day after national security adviser John Bolton called
the tests a clear breach of UN resolutions. ¡°NK fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my
people, and others, but not me,¡± Trump tweeted. SKorea¡¯s presidential office and its Defense Ministry have been cautious
about identifying the May 9 projectiles ¡°ballistic missiles,¡± as this could lead to calls for additional sanctions against NK.
SKorea has projected
its economy to expand between 2.6% and 2.7% this year, but Bank of Korea
trimmed its economic outlook for the year to 2.5% from 2.6%. IMF said SKorea's
growth is projected to slide to around 2.6% in 2019, citing an expected
deterioration in external demand.
LG Electronics¡¯ first 5G powered smartphone, V50 ThinQ, has been sold up to
100,000 handsets in 10 days here since it hit
the market on 10th. This is four times more than sales of its predecessor V40
ThinQ. While upgrades and features of LG¡¯s latest 5G smartphone, such as dual screen functionality, may
have come into play, industry watchers attributed the soaring sales to ¡°overheated competition¡± among mobile carriers to boost the
number of 5G subscribers.
With the US government ramping up pressure on its allies to reject
Huawei Technologies equipment for its 5G cellular networks, SKorea is struggling
to come up with a response amid escalating conflicts between the world¡¯s two superpowers. LG Uplus, by an unnamed State Department official, has been
demanded a halt to mobile carrier¡¯s operations in ¡°sensitive areas¡±. Huawei purchased KW12 tril ($10.1 bil) worth of smartphone
components from Korean suppliers. China¡¯s share in Samsung¡¯s 2018 revenue was about 18%, up 2% on-year. Samsung sold KW43.2
trill worth of products in China last year. SK hynix¡¯s sales in China accounted for KW3.1
tril, 47% of total global sales in first quarter.
Korea¡¯s Composite Stock Price Index rose 0.42% to 2,212 on 2nd due
to improved factory activity in April amid market holidays in Japan and China,
then continued to free fall hitting new low throughout the month. KOSPI was rattled to close at 2,159.79 on 9th, 3.04% lower
than previous session, after US President Donald Trump claimed that Beijing ¡°broke the deal¡± in the ongoing trade talks with
Washington. The figure marks Kospi¡¯s worst performance to date during the first two years of
presidency of the nation¡¯s leaders so far, since the
launch of the main bourse in 1983. KOSPI continue
to fall to 2,055 on 17th, 2,045 on 24th and 2,023 on 29th, then
slightly rebounded to 2,041 to end the month. For the month of May, KOSPI fell 7.34%.
On 31st, HHI extraordinary meeting of shareholders approved the
appointment of new inside directors and the physical division plan of the
corporation. The meeting presented 51,074,006
shares, which is 72.2% of the total shares, passed the physical division by the
approval of 99.9% and also passed the appointment of inside directors by 94.4%
approval. Now, with the approval of the meeting, the corporate wields two
bodies: ¡®Korea Shipbuilding & Marine
Engineering,¡¯ a new holding
company focusing on investment and R&D, ¡®HHI,¡¯ a physical
arm of the group.
Relations between SKorea and Japan deteriorated to their worst
point to date [p.2]
adopted video game addiction as an official disease on 24th [p.3]
The number of SKoreans applying for unemployment benefit have
rapidly increased [p.4]
population reached 51.83 mil as of April 2019 [p.5]
BTS took home two awards at this year¡¯s Billboard Music Awards [p.5]
Bong Joon-ho¡¯s ¡°Parasite¡± won Palme d¡¯Or, top award at Cannes Film Festival [p.6]
NK fired multiple projectiles into the East Sea on 4th and two
more on 9th [p.7]
SKorea has projected its economy to expand between
2.6%-2.7% this year [p.10]
Hana Financial Group won international arbitration against
Lone Star Funds [p.11]
List of SKorea¡¯s top 500 companies ranked by revenue saw major shifts last
Healthcare had the highest average salary among listed firms in SKorea in 2018 [p.12]
first 5G powered smartphone, V50 ThinQ, has been sold 100,000 handsets in 10
Shin Dong-bin became first SKorean conglomerate leader to meet
President Trump [p.14]
pressure to reject Huawei for its 5G cellular networks, SKorea struggles to
KOSPI has plunged while KWon softened against USDollar [p.16]
shareholders approved the physical division plan of the corporation on 31st [p.17]
diligence on DSME to be completed in 10 weeks, site inspection to take place
gone into the black for five quarters in a row [p.20]
O&S has scored its first newbuilding order in 2019 with PCL [p.21]
posted operating profit of KW1.8 bil ($151 mil) in the 1Q 2019 [p.21]
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