BOK hikes policy rate by quarter point to 3.25%

7 days ago The Korea Herald

BOK hikes policy rate by quarter point to 3.25%Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong presides over a monetary policy board meeting on Thursday. (Central Bank)South Korea's central bank raised its policy rate by a quarter percentage point Thursday to tame persistently high inflation but slowed the pace of monetary tightening amid worries over high borrowing costs and their impact on economic growth. The monetary policy board of the Bank of Korea voted to lift the benchmark seven-day repo rate from 3 percent to 3.25 percent at this year's last policy meeting earlier in the day. It is widely expected to raise the rate further at its last policy meeting next month.
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Korea’s monthly exports decline for 1st time in 2 years

SEJONG -- South Korea suffered a negative growth in exports for the first time in two years in the wake of sharply contracted demand for semiconductors around the globe and China’s economic slowdown, state data showed Tuesday.According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the nation’s exports posted $52.4 billion in October, falling by 5.7 percent compared to a year earlier.This monthly tally marked the first decline in two years since its outbound shipments fell by 3.9 percent in October 2020, when COVID-19 was hitting the world at a high speed.As a noteworthy case, exports of semiconductors, Korea’s biggest export item, declined by 17.4 percent on-year last month. This was attributed to a drop in semiconductor prices.The nation saw exports of semiconductors drop for the third consecutive month, followed by 7.8 percent in July and by 5.7 percent in August, data from the Industry Ministry showed.In addition, shipments of petrochemical products decreased by 25.5 percent, steel by 20.8 percent, displays by 7.9 percent, mobile telecommunications by 5.4 percent and computers by 37.1 percent. A 19.1 percent drop was seen in textiles, negative growth of 22.3 percent in home appliances and 16.7 percent in rechargeable batteries.By destination, shipments to China fell by 15.7 percent, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations by 5.8 percent, Japan by 13.1 percent, South & Central Americas by 27 percent and the Middle East by 6.5 percent.Nonetheless, exports to the United States and the European Union increased by 6.6 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.Korea’s imports increased 9.9 percent on-year to log $59.1 billion in October amid spiraling raw material prices, under which the nation posted a trade deficit of $6.7 billion.The nation suffered a trade deficit for the seventh consecutive month, which marked the first time in about 25 years since it posted a protracted deficit between January 1995 and May 1997.“Downside risks are expanding over the world economy due to (factors like) inflation and the war between Ukraine and Russia,” Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang said in a statement.Citing unfavorable external factors, he predicted that it would be difficult for the nation to see an apparent rebound in export performance on a short-term basis.“(To overcome the sluggish situation, the government) will carry out full-fledged support to reinvigorate exports by mobilizing any possible means,” he said.By Kim Yon-se ( [email protected]

1 month ago The Korea Herald
Seoul to inject W2tr fund to incubate 1,000 tech-focused startups by 2027

The Ministry of SMEs and Startups said Thursday it plans to inject more than 2 trillion won ($1.4 billion) of investment comprised of state and private fund to incubate around 1,000 advanced technology-based startups for the next five years.Categorized as the “deep-tech” sector, the ministry selected 10 industries of growth including system semiconductors, biologics and health care, future mobility, next generation nuclear power plants and quantum technology.It is the largest support package to be catered by the SMEs ministry for budding enterprises across these industries. The ministry will pour 1.3 trillion won, 66 percent of the 2 trillion won fund, to back research and development, commercialization and follow-up support for the startups.The project is meant to nurture “hard-tech” companies, referring to research-focused firms that take on technical or engineering challenges which are expected to provide significant solutions that could contribute to technological advances and the well-being of society if they succeed.“With the advent of the digital economy spurred by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, high tech companies should be at the forefront of research and development and creating new markets, which can bring value-added businesses here. But most of our startups are service and platform providers, not hard tech companies,” said SMEs and Startups Minister Lee Young.Lee added that although South Korea has seen 23 unicorn companies exceeding 1 trillion won of corporate value, they are not global unicorns. The global fund is a mix of private venture capital investment and public funding.“Many countries are actively investing in advanced technology as a means to get a hold of technological hegemony. For Korean startups, this global fund will play a vital role in attracting foreign capital,” Lee said.By Byun Hye-jin ( [email protected]

28 days ago The Korea Herald
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