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KOREA REPORT - SEPTEMBER, 2021.
seeks to gradually return to normal daily life, while managing the spread of
novel coronavirus, between late Oct and early
Nov. The government earlier envisioned the "With Corona" scheme,
under which COVID-19 is treated as an infectious respiratory disease like the
seasonal influenza, with eased distancing being implemented. President Moon
said on 28th the country could ¡°no longer put off returning to normal in
stages¡± as economic consequences from the pandemic pile up, and wider
vaccinations are ¡°what will bring us closer to normal.¡±
launched a new 3,000-ton-class homegrown submarine capable of firing ballistic
missiles at HHI on 28th, named after prominent Korean
independence activist, Shin Chae-ho. It is the third and final of three
Changbogo-III Batch-I submarines SKorea has been building with its own
technologies under KW3.09 tril ($2.77 bil) project launched in 2007. All of them
are capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Read more...
trade surplus came to $4.2 bil in Sept,
marking 17th consecutive month of surplus. Exports extended their gains to 11
consecutive months and set record high level by rising 16.7% to $55.8 bil.
Imports climbed 31% to $51.6 bil. By sector, exports of chips moved up 28.2% to
$12.1 bil, on the back of solid demand from both server and mobile segments.
Sales of automobiles, on the other hand, slipped 6.1% to $3.5 bil, amid global
shortages of automotive chips.
SKorean companies saw their profitability
grow in the second quarter, with their sales improving despite fallout of COVID-19
pandemic, Bank of Korea said on 15th. The ratio of operating profit to sales of
firms reached 7.4%, up 5.2% on-year. Pretax net profit margin of SKorean
companies rose 8.2% on-year. Their sales jumped 18.7% on-year. By sector,
manufacturing firms posted 24.3% on-year jump in sales, with ratio of operating
profit to sales widening to 9%. Non-manufacturers' sales also rose 12.4%
on-year with operating profit margin gaining 5.4%. The financial health of
local companies slightly improved with their debt to equity ratio falling to
86.6% from 89.9%.
foreign reserves came to $463.97 bil as of end Sept, up $40 mil on-month,
rising to an all-time high due to a rise in profits from
investment of foreign currency assets. Foreign securities came to $419.3 bil,
up $1.05 bil on-month, accounting for 90.4% of the FX reserves. But deposits
fell $1.15 bil on-month to $19.85 bil and gold holdings remained unchanged at
$4.79 bil. SKorea was the world's eighth-largest holder of FX reserves.
and KSOE made an agreement on 30th to extend the deadline of taking over DSME
by three months to Dec 31st from Sept 30th. KDB signed an investment
contract in Jan 2019 after designating HHI as a candidate for taking over DSME.
Under the deal, KDB shall hand over its 59.7 mil shares in DSME to HHI. In
return, it shall receive 9.12 mil redeemable convertible preference shares and
6.1 mil ordinary shares from KSOE. KDB and HHI agreed to fulfil the
contract by Mar 2020, but deadline has been extended as approval process on
proposed merger delayed at home and abroad. The merger between HHI Group and
DSME has been approved by China, Singapore, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, but
is being held up by the European Union, SKorea and Japan. The approval by the
EU has been considered crucial for the merger, as key shipping hub nations like
Greece, Germany and Denmark are in Europe.
announced on 15th that it was awarded two LNGCs worth KW457.1 bil by an Asian
shipowner. With this contract, KSOE accomplished 102%
of its 2021 order target ($14.9 bil). So far this year, KSOE has scored 196
newbuilds worth $19.2 bil (129% achievements), which is the largest scale since
2013 when it was awarded vessels worth $32.4 bil. As of end Aug, KSOE
secured $33.08 bil in its orderbook. SHI
announced on 16th that it won six LNG dual-fueled containerships worth KW841.2
bil ($720 mil) from an European operator. With the deal, SHI raised
the value of its 2021 new order intakes to $7.8 bil level, which exceeds it's
original order target of $7.1 bil. Considering potential orders expected to be
placed for the remainder of the year, SHI is highly likely to achieve its
revised order goal of $9.1 bil. As of end Aug, SHI secured 129 vessels worth
$25.5 bil in its orderbook, including commercial vessels worth $17.8 bil,
drilling units worth $2.8 bil and production facilities worth $4.9 bil. Read
Glovis announced on 5th it will enter gas shipping market in 2024 after striking a multi-year deal with Trafigura. Through the
deal, Hyundai Glovis will carry ammonia and liquefied natural gas for up to 10
years for global markets. Two VLGCs, 86,000 sqm in capacity, will be built with
KW200 bil ($173.2 mil) in investment.
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