Korea pins high hopes on China’s reopening


China’s reopening is fueling optimism in Seoul that sluggish Korean exports will bounce back and possibly offer a breakthrough for the country’s trade-reliant economy that is struggling with slowed growth.

During a Cabinet meeting in Seoul, Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho urged all related ministries to “pay special attention to China’s reopening to result in Korean businesses’ export expansion.”

His remarks came as Korea struggles with a triple whammy of high inflation, high interest rates and high currency rate amid global economic risks, including a year-long war in Ukraine and years of China’s COVID lockdowns that were lifted only in recent months.

Exports, one of the two engines of Korea’s economy along with private spending, saw a steep decline on weak demand for semiconductors and other key sales items. And for the first time since 2020, exports marked the fourth straight month of decline in January when outbound shipments dropped 16.6 percent year-on-year.

The finance minister said the economic revitalization should be driven by bolstering the private sector “to overcome global economic challenges and take a leap forward.”

“Accordingly, I ask every ministry to make full-fledged efforts to help expand exports and investments in the private sector and work as if their focus of area is trade and commerce,” Choo added.

“I’d say investment opportunities led by the Chinese government will increase this year and such opportunities can possibly improve Korea’s exports,” a private think tank researcher said, asking not to be named.

Source: Korea Times


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