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  Korea Report - February 2022
  Author : Hwang & Co     Date : 22-03-08 16:24     Hit : 17618    
   Korea Report - February 2022.pdf (419.9K), Down : 6, 2022-03-08 16:24:58




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SKorea is considering to change current quarantine system to manage COVID-19 like a seasonal flu, as severe cases decline despite rapid increase in the spread. On 4th, Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters said it would fully review the possibility of switching to a medical system similar to seasonal flu while evaluating capacity of the medical system, the final severity rate and the fatality rate. SKoreas daily COVID-19 cases surpassed 20,000 mark on 1st for the first time, due to fast spread of the omicron variant and continued to break records to surpass the 100,000 mark on 18th and 170,000 mark on 23rd.


SKorea's trade surplus came to $840 mil in Feb, turnaround from previous two months of trade deficit. Exports jumped 20.6% on-year to $53.91 bil as overseas shipments of chips, autos and other key products increased amid global economic recovery. It marked first time that country's exports volume surpassed the $50 bil mark in Feb. Previous record was set in Feb 2012, when corresponding figure came to $46.3 bil. Imports jumped 25.1% to $53.07 bil, also the highest for any Feb due mainly to soaring global energy prices.


As the US Biden administration imposes economic sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, SKorean firms are expected to take collateral damage. For Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, who sold chips worth KW88.5 bil ($73.5 mil) to Russia last year, damage is inevitable unless they find alternative market. Korean-made cars and auto equipment, which take up 25.5% and 15.1% of Koreas exports to Russia, are expected to take a hit as well. In 2014, when Russia forcefully annexed Crimea, Koreas export of cars and tires plunged 62.1% and 55.7%, respectively. Hyundai Motor and Kia, who run factories that churn out 230,000 cars per year in Russia, are within the range of sanctions. More than 90% of Korean auto parts exports to Russia go to two automakers.


SKorea was fifth-largest country in the world in terms of auto production last year, keeping its rank for second consecutive year despite chip shortage-triggered decrease in car manufacturing, according to Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association on 28th. It produced 3.46 mil cars, down 1.3% on-year. China produced most cars with 26.8 mil, followed by the US with 9.15 mil, Japan with 7.84 mil and India with 4.39 mil. India showed 29.6% increase in production, making it to fourth, replacing Germany. Germany saw 8.8% drop in output with 3.42 mil cars, lowest output since 1975.


Global shipyards were awarded newbuilds of 3.07 mil cgt in Jan, up 72% from 1.78 mil cgt in Dec 2021. With this, global new order intakes have rebounded in four months since Sept 2021. China topped in order sales market with 1.47 mil cgt (48% shares) awarded, followed by Korea (1.38 mil cgt, 45%) and Japan (90,000 cgt, 3%), according to Clarksons Research. Compared to Dec, Korea and China saw 160% and 51% increases, respectively, in their order sales. Japan experienced 18% decline. Of Korean shipyards' main order items in Jan, LNG carrier (1.11 mil cgt, 36%) and large-sized containership (over 12,000 teu, 940,000 cgt, 31%) accounted for as much as 67%, while there were no orders for VLCC, Suezmax and Aframax tankers. 


Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) of Korea and Ministry of Employment of Korea and Labor signed cooperation agreement on 24th for HHIs Gunsan shipyard to reopen. HHI stopped operation of its Gunsan shipyard in July 2017 as part of its self-rescue plan after long-term slump in shipbuilding industry, such as 2008 global financial crisis and 2016 dearth of orders. However, as newbuilding orders dramatically improved, HHI decided to resume operation of its Gunsan shipyard from Jan 2023. Korean government and government of Jeollabuk-do province of Korea and Gunsan city welcomed re-operation of Gunsan shipyard. Also, governments of North Jeolla Province and Gunsan plans to help finance HHI to hire workers, support its subcontractors and operate buses to the shipyard. HHI will hire 750 workers to produce 100,000 tons of blocks for large container ships annually, starting in 2023.





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