Edition:
United Kingdom

Hayoung Choi

In South Korea's dangerous shipyards, subcontracted workers are most at risk

29 Oct 2019

GEOJE, South Korea Park Chol-hee was working the holiday shift at Samsung Heavy Industries' Geoje shipyard on Labour Day, 2017, when a giant crane collided with another and crashed to ground, killing six people, including Park's younger brother.

RPT-Scarred by trade war, South Korea's stocks whipped by oil shock

23 Sep 2019

SEOUL/SINGAPORE, Sept 20 Slammed by a surge in global trade protectionism, South Korea, the world's sixth largest exporting nation, this week headed into another major economic headwind: a spike in oil prices.

Scarred by trade war, South Korea's stocks whipped by oil shock

20 Sep 2019

SEOUL/SINGAPORE, Sept 20 Slammed by a surge in global trade protectionism, South Korea, the world's sixth largest exporting nation, this week headed into another major economic headwind: a spike in oil prices.

S.Korea stocks down more than 1% as U.S.-China trade war escalates

06 Aug 2019

* KOSPI index hits lowest since Feb, 2016 * Korean won turns higher vs U.S. dollar * South Korea benchmark bond yield rises By Hayoung Choi SEOUL, Aug 6 South Korean shares fell more than 1% on Tuesday, marking the fifth consecutive session of losses, after Washington designated Beijing a currency manipulator in a further escalation of their trade conflict. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday the government had determined that China was manipulating its currency, and that Washington would engage the International Monetary Fund to eliminate unfair competition from Beijing. As of 0205 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI had dropped 24.23 points, or 1.24%, to 1,922.75 points. The index fell as much as 2.8% in early trade, hitting the lowest level since February 2016. "Uncertainties have grown as the friction between the United States and China reached a boiling point," said Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. Most leading KOSPI firms were in red, including SK Hynix and Hyundai Mobis , which dropped 3% and 4%, respectively. South Korea's finance ministry said on Tuesday it is monitoring markets closely and would act quickly if volatility became excessive, while the central bank also held a meeting to assess the market situation. Japan's decision on Friday to remove South Korea from fast-track export status put further strain on the trade-reliant economy, sending the benchmark index plunging. The junior KOSDAQ stumbled as much as 5.1% on Tuesday before giving up early losses. The Korean won turned higher with currency dealers suspecting authorities had sold dollars to curb the currency's weakness. The won was quoted at 1,213.1 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.18% higher than its previous close at 1,215.3. On the main board, foreigners were net sellers of 221.2 billion won ($182.30 million) worth of shares. The KOSPI has fallen 5.80% so far this year, and has lost 8.4% in the previous 30 trading sessions. The won has lost 8.0% against the U.S dollar so far this year, making it the biggest percentage loser among its major Asian peers. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.03 points to 111.23, while the 3-month certificate of deposit rate was quoted at 1.50%. The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 1.8 basis points to 1.190%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 2.6 basis points to 1.278%. ($1=1,213.4 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi)

S.Korea stocks slump over 2% on escalating tension with Japan, trade worries

05 Aug 2019

* KOSPI index closes at lowest since June 2016 * Korean won posts steepest pct loss since Aug 2016 * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls to all-time low * For the midday report, please click (Updates to market close) By Hayoung Choi SEOUL, Aug 5 South Korean shares tumbled more than 2% on Monday to close at their lowest level since June 2016 amid a worsening diplomatic row with Japan. Escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, South Korea's largest export markets, added to the selling pressure. The Seoul stock market's main KOSPI index closed down 51.15 points or 2.56% at 1,946.98, marking its sharpest daily percentage loss since May 9. Tech giant Samsung Electronics fell 2.2%, extending losses from last week when it reported a plunge in profit and warned Japanese curbs on the export of chip-making materials was blurring its outlook. Japan said on Friday it would remove South Korea from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export restrictions from Aug. 28, pushing the KOSPI down nearly 1%. Japan tightened controls in July on exports to South Korea, escalating a row over wartime forced labourers and sparking a boycott by South Korean consumers of Japanese products and services, from cars, beer and pens to tours. "Japan's tighter export controls may dent South Korea's capital investment, exports and private consumption, which may lead to this year's growth rate being lower than 2%," said Lee Kyung-su, chief of Mertiz Securities research centre. South Korea on Monday announced plans to invest about 7.8 trillion won ($6.44 billion) in research and development for local materials, parts and equipment over the next seven years in an effort to cut reliance on Japanese imports. However, such measures are expected to take some time to kick in, according to analysts. The junior KOSDAQ extended its losses, triggering the bourse to suspend future linked trades for five minutes. It ended down 7.5%. The KOSPI's pharmaceutical sub-index was the biggest percentage loser with a 8.8% drop on dampened sentiment across the sector after SillaJen's halted clinical tests. Trade worries and a sudden slide in China's yuan sent South Korea's won to as low as 1218.3 per dollar. The yuan breached the 7 per dollar level for the first time in 11 years. The won was quoted at 1,215.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 1.42% lower than its previous close at 1,198.0, marking its sharpest daily percentage loss since August 2016. Amid greater appetite for safe-haven assets, the currency marked its lowest against the Japanese yen since July 2016. Foreigners were net sellers of 317.6 billion won ($261.35 million) worth of shares on the main board on Monday. Individuals were net sellers of 441.7 billion won, with analysts seeing some forced liquidations. Amid the protracted trade war between the United States and China, The KOSPI has fallen 4.61% so far this year, and lost 6.0% in the previous 30 trading sessions. The won has lost 8.2% against the U.S dollar so far this year. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.29 points to 111.26, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.50%. The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 7.5 basis points to 1.186%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 9.6 basis points to all-time low of 1.256%. ($1 = 1,215.2500 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta & Kim Coghill)

S.Korea stocks shed over 2% as Japan trade spat spirals

05 Aug 2019

* KOSPI index hits lowest since Nov 2016, foreigners net sellers * Korean won drops over 1% vs U.S. dollar * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls By Hayoung Choi SEOUL, Aug 5 South Korean shares fell more than 2% on Monday as Japan's decision to drop South Korea from fast-track export status weighed on the market, which has been already battered by fragile corporate earnings. Japan on Friday said it will remove the neighbouring country from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export restrictions from Aug. 28, pushing the benchmark KOSPI down nearly 1%. As of 0242 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI fell 42.16 points or 2.11% to 1,955.97. In early trade, the benchmark index was down as much as 1953.01, marking the lowest since November 2016. "Tension between Seoul and Tokyo has become an all-out war and investors are failing to recover confidence amid a series of weak corporate earnings in the second quarter," said Byun Juno, head of Eugene Investment & Securities research centre. "Uncertainties over the Japan-Korea dispute make the situation worse. Some global firms may feel reluctant to buy South Korean products if they expect South Korean suppliers will fail to provide goods in time due to Japan's tighter restrictions," he added. South Korea on Monday announced plans to invest about 7.8 trillion won ($6.44 billion) in research and development for local materials, parts and equipment over the next seven years in an effort to cut reliance on Japanese imports. However, such measures are expected to take some time to kick in, according to analysts. The junior KOSDAQ also lost more than 4%, hovering around the 590-point mark for the first time since December 2016. As offshore Chinese yuan fell below 7 per dollar, South Korea's won hit its lowest versus the dollar since March 2016. The won was quoted at 1,212.2 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 1.17% lower than its previous close at 1,198.0. Amid greater appetite for safe-haven assets, the currency marked its lowest against the Japanese yen since July 2016. Foreigners were net sellers of 104.7 billion won ($86.39 million) worth of shares on the main board on Monday. Amid a protracted trade war between the United States and China, the KOSPI has fallen 4.07% so far this year, and lost 6.0% in the previous 30 trading sessions. The won has lost 8.0% against the U.S dollar so far this year. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.20 points to 111.17, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.50%. The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 5.7 basis points to 1.204%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 7.4 basis points to 1.278%. ($1 = 1,211.9000 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

S.Korea stocks tumble as Japan takes Seoul off easy-trade list

02 Aug 2019

* KOSPI index drops nearly 1%, foreigners net sellers * KOSPI tumbles 3.3% for week * Korean won marks lowest since Jan 2017 vs dollar * South Korea benchmark bond yield hits all-time low * For the midday report, please click (Updates to market close) By Hayoung Choi SEOUL, Aug 2 South Korean shares slumped 1% on Friday as Japan's decision to remove Seoul from fast-track export status put further strain on the trade-dependent economy, which is already reeling from the broadening fallout of the Sino-U.S trade war. Japan's cabinet approved a plan to remove the neighbouring country from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export controls, prompting a warning from South Korean President Moon Jae-in of retaliatory steps against Tokyo. The decision would take effect from Aug. 28, Japan's Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told a briefing. "It's hard to gauge its impact as of now. Japan may approve some exports smoothly, while making the process difficult for certain items," said Ku Yong-uk, chief of Mirae Asset Daewoo research centre. The Seoul stock market's main KOSPI closed down 19.21 points or 0.95% at 1,998.13 points. "It will affect some small- and mid-sized manufacturers, which import precision machineries from Japan," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. The benchmark index lost as much as 1.5% in early trade, falling below the 2,000-point mark for the first time since Jan. 4, but later recouped some of the early losses. On a weekly basis, the KOSPI tumbled 3.3% for its second straight week in the red. Foreigners were net sellers of 396.2 billion won ($330.79 million) worth of shares on the main board on the day, the most since May 28. Sentiment was already gloomy when trading began after U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he plans to impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports from next month in a sharp escalation of the year-long trade dispute, sending global stocks sliding and triggering a rush to safe-haven assets. There was some cheer for South Korean shares seen benefiting from a boycott of Japanese goods. Stationery-maker Monami Co Ltd surged more than 17.4%, while apparel makers Shinsung Tongsang Co Ltd and Sbw Inc rallied 6.5% and 4.2%, respectively. As investors piled into safe-haven assets, the South Korean won hit its lowest against the Japanese yen since November 2016. Against the U.S. dollar, the won closed at its lowest level since January 2017, with forex dealers suspecting authorities of selling dollars to curb the currency's weakness. The won was quoted at 1,198.0 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.79% lower than its previous close at 1,188.5. The won has dropped 6.9% against the U.S dollar so far this year, the biggest loss among Asian peers. In money and debt markets, the benchmark 10-year bond yield hit an all-time low of 1.325%. September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.18 points to 110.98, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.50%. The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 5.1 basis points to 1.258%. ($1 = 1,197.7500 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips & Shri Navaratnam)

S.Korean stocks slide to 2-month low on trade worries, weak earnings

29 Jul 2019

SEOUL, July 29 South Korean shares shed nearly 2% on Monday, as tensions with Japan added more pressure on the export-dependent economy already reeling from weak global demand and the U.S.-China tariff war.

Parent of South Korea's Asiana Airlines puts its $442 million stake up for sale

15 Apr 2019

SEOUL The top shareholder of South Korea's second-largest carrier, Asiana Airlines, said on Monday it would sell its entire stake in the debt-ridden firm to keep it afloat, sending shares of the carrier and its budget arm 30 percent higher.

Asiana Airlines reveals wider loss after auditor's red flags, shares plunge

26 Mar 2019

SEOUL Asiana Airlines revised its accounts and said its annual loss widened after auditors raised doubts about the financial statements of South Korea's second-biggest carrier, sending its shares tumbling almost 18 percent on Tuesday.

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