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  Korea Report - January 2022
  Author : Hwang & Co     Date : 22-02-08 11:59     Hit : 5196    
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KOREA REPORT - JANUARY, 2022.

TOP ISSUES.

SKorea for the first time entered five digits in daily new COVID-19 cases, recording 13,012 cases on 26th, just days after omicron officially replaced delta as dominant variant here. Experts speculate that daily infections could reach 100,000 by end of Feb in the worst-case scenario. Starting Feb 3rd, the country will limit polymerase chain reaction tests to people in priority groups and will allow local hospitals and clinics to provide self-testing kits and prescribe medication for COVID-19 patients. Local hospitals will also manage COVID-19 patients undergoing at-home treatment.

US sanctions on Iran will remain in place until Tehran returns to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, state department spokesperson said on 4th, suggesting that there will be no immediate release of Iranian assets frozen in SKorea. SKorean foreign ministry said talks will be held with the US and five other member countries of the Iran nuclear deal, to discuss a possible solution to the Iranian assets held in SKorean banks. Read more

NK fired hypersonic missiles on 5th, fired ballistic missile toward the East Sea on 11th, railway-based missile conducted firing drill on 14th, launched two short-range ballistic missiles on 17th, fired two suspected cruise missiles from an inland area on 25th, fired two rounds of missiles on 28th and intermediate-range ballistic missile on 30th, its seventh show of force this year. Read more

SKorea has surpassed average of members of the OECD in gross domestic product per capita for the first time, data showed on 10th. SKorea ranked 18th among 38 members in GDP per capita with $45,363 in 2020. Figures for Korea were $18,539 in 2000, $31,737 in 2010 and $43,250 in 2019. In 2020, Korea placed above New Zealand (19th) with $44,025, Japan (20th) with $42,442, Italy (21st) with $41,987 and Spain (26th) with $37,840. Luxembourg topped the list with $117,958 in 2020, followed by Ireland with $93,639, Switzerland with $71,832, the US with $63,285 and Norway with $62,777. The others in the top 10 list included Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Austria and Sweden. These countries posted figures between $55,000 and $61,000.

SKorea witnessed a trade deficit for two consecutive months in Jan, for the first time since global financial crisis in 2008, due to rising prices of energy and raw materials. Exports increase 15.2% on-year to $55.3 bil in Jan, while imports surged 35.5% to $60.2 bil, resulting in a trade deficit of $4.8 bil. The country imported $15.9 bil worth of crude oil, gas and coal, far greater than $9 bil in Dec.

Hyundai Motor (HMC) will develop marine mobility platform powered by seawater by 2023 to replace small and mid-sized diesel ships. It is developing 15-20m long yacht powered by firms hydrogen fuel cells. The trimaran yacht has three hulls, each installed with equipment to break seawater into hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cells mounted inside the hulls will use extracted hydrogen to power propellers. Solar panels installed on sail and two vertical wind turbines mounted on the platform will generate clean electricity to break seawater into hydrogen. Price per unit is KW4.5 bil ($3.7 mil).

The proposed merger between HHI Group and DSME has finally gone to pieces as the European Union uses its veto. According to industrial source, the European Commission rejected the merger between two of world's biggest players in the shipbuilding industry on 13th, saying it is highly likely to form monopolistic structure of LNG carrier order sales market and disturb fair competition. As a result, the M&A project, which had been carried out over last three years, has eventually been cancelled. Read more

Shipyards in SKorea were awarded newbuilds of a combined 17.44 mil cgt in 2021, marking the highest order intakes since 2013 when they won vessels of 18.45 mil cgt. Compared to pre-Covid levels, 9.58 mil cgt in 2019 and 8.23 mil cgt in 2020, in particular, the figure represents 82% and 112% increases, respectively, Ministry of Trade, industry and Energy revealed. Korea shipbuilding industry's 2021 order intakes accounted for 37.1% of entire global contracts worth 46.96 mil cgt. Following 31.2% in 2019 and 34.1% in 2020, the order ratio of Korea has been continuingly on increase. Read more

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