Updated: 49 min 54 sec ago
SINGAPORE _ Korea’s financial regulators face growing calls for more effective measures to regulate illegal activities surrounding virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, after many investors suffered massive losses in the wake of a server shutdown of Bithumb, Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
Korean currency is continuing strengthening against the dollar. Analysts explain that economic recovery and inflow of foreign funds to stock market are pulling up its value.
Despite growing fears that Korea is not a safe haven from earthquakes, insurance firms are still reluctant to introduce policies specialized in quakes, saying those policies would not be profitable. According to insurance firms on Friday, 132 quake-related claims were reported to nine non-life insurance firms as of Thursday 5 p.m. On Wednesday, a 5.4 magnitude quake hit Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, leaving 75 people injured and more than 1,700 evacuated as of Friday 12 p.m.
Shinhan Bank said Friday it has signed an agreement on joining a $270 million syndicated loan program financing an Australian coal mine development project led by Indonesia's Salim Group. According to the bank, Salim Group will pour $580 million into the project to start producing coal products in the second half of next year. Salim Group is No. 2 conglomerate in Indonesia, whose business domain includes foods, telecommunication, automobile and distribution.
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, so it seems.And there are fewer and fewer stories of rags to riches to be told that can inspire the younger generation around the world, including in Korea.As the global top 1 percent further accumulates their wealth through their financial and nonfinancial assets, less opportunities await the next generation, according to investment bank Credit Suisse's global wealth report.
The server crash of Bithumb, one of the largest digital token exchanges based in Korea, is casting fears over investor protection, with financial authorities saying they have no grounds to control cryptocurrency exchanges. On Nov. 12, the Bithumb server went down from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. According to Bithumb, it went out of action because “the number of investors accessing its website and trying to sell their Bitcoin Cash (BCH) increased explosively.” This caused chaos among digital currency investors.
Korea is expected to pursue more currency swap deals with advanced economies not only to boost its buffer against crises but also global confidence in the won. This comes as the Bank of Korea (BOK) sealed a standing swap deal with the Bank of Canada Thursday. Unlike other deals, this does not have an expiration date and a limit on how much they can provide their respective currencies to one another, whenever should “the need arise,” as long as it is for the stability of their financial markets.
The new head of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) has pledged to mobilize all resources to help small exporters bolster their overseas shipments, as demand grows for made-in-Korea products across the globe. KITA Chairman Kim Young-joo also told reporters Thursday the export promotion body will bridge the government and the private sector, adding it will proactively advocate for the interests of its 70,000 member companies in the ongoing renegotiation of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). “While I was in the public sector, I worked with my KITA counterparts on various trade issues. It is good to be part of this wonderful, hardworking organization,” said Kim, who served as minister of commerce, industry and energy during the 2003-08 Roh Moo-hyun administration.
Moody’s Investors Service said Wednesday its outlook on Korea’s credit profile is stable for next year, but added that rising tension on the peninsula could have negative implications for not only the country but also other nations. Moody’s Vice President Christian de Guzman said the rating house is looking at growth in all major regions across the globe for the first time since the global financial crisis, and the “synchronized global upturn” will benefit export-driven economies such as Korea. “What distinguishes Korea from other export-dependent economies is that there are visible signs of spillovers to its domestic economy,” de Guzman said during a press conference at the Conrad Hotel on Yeouido, Seoul.
Jobless rate fell to the lowest level in 10 months but the condition is worsening for the young people. The youth unemployment rate rose to the highest level in 18 years in October.
The tech-heavy KOSDAQ is having a field day, rallying for six straight trading days on retail, institutional and foreign buying.
The Korea Federation of Banks (KFB) will shortlist its potential chief executive candidates by November 27, the banking lobby group said Wednesday. The federation held its board meeting to discuss its successor to incumbent Chairman Ha Yung-ku, whose term ends at the end of this month. The board consists of 11 chief executives from commercial and regional banks. Each has the right to recommend candidates.
Religious organizations, particularly members of Protestant churches, are having a fit again over the planned taxation of religious figures and organizations. With about 50 days before the government’s legal authority to impose taxes on them, some Christian sects are asking for more time to prepare, and are demanding the government postpone the taxation again by one or two years. This is because neither the government nor the religious organizations are fully ready to execute and abide by the new income tax code, which the church leaders said has been drawn up unreasonably.
College writers of award-winning English economic essays suggested fresh ideas in their writing about Korea’s preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and for the economic success of the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. On Monday, The Korea Times held an awards event for the 13th English Economic Essay Contest, sponsored by Woori Bank.
Financial groups are watching their stock prices shedding value as foreign investors unload shares amid the groups’ conflict with their unions. With the moves being interpreted as an intervention in the groups’ management, some are even concerned that the government’s stance of empowering unions could hamper foreign investment. On Monday, the price of KB Financial Group stock dropped to 56,600 won, down 1.39 percent from the earlier session. Since Nov. 3, when the price reached 60,000 won, the price has been declining.
Domestic financial groups are in a quandary as their labor unions rally to file suits against their CEOs. Expectation is rising that the unions’ continued pressure on their leadership may pave the way for the government to “parachute” outside people into the leadership of the banking industry. According to bank officials, union members of Hana Financial Group are preparing to file a suit against Chairman Kim Jung-tai and KEB Hana Bank CEO Ham Young-joo for their alleged involvement in a corruption scandal surrounding former President Park Geun-hye and her confidant Choi Soon-sil.
A college professor, surnamed Park, in Seoul, remembers how the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis affected his family. “I was a college student back then. When I got home, red tags were attached all over, on furniture, TV, etc. They were seized by my father’s creditors,” said Park who had to stand on his own as the family business went bankrupt.
The Rural Development Administration (RDA), the state-run agricultural research institute, has pledged to share more of its state-of-the-art agricultural knowledge with developing countries to help them boost production, control pests and diversify farm products. At a press conference with members of foreign media outlets in Seoul, Tuesday, RDA Director General Lee Kyu-seong said the institute will open more support centers abroad and cooperate closely with the Korea International Cooperation Agency and other government organizations, to offer more comprehensive assistance to farmers in Asia, Africa and South America. “We will make more efforts to pass on our technical knowhow and expertise to our foreign partners,” Lee said.
Meritz Securities is ranked at the bottom of managing initial public offerings (IPO) this year with none to date, according to Korea Exchange (KRX). The country’s sixth-largest brokerage by equity capital has not lead managed an IPO deal for seven years. Meanwhile, NH Investment & Securities, Korea Investment & Securities and Mirae Asset Daewoo are in a neck-and-neck battle to become the leader with the highest record in the listing of private companies before the end of this year.
The server at Bithumb, a leading online currency exchange based in Korea, was out of action for an hour over the past two days. The server went down at 4 p.m. Sunday as more people tried to access the site while Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) prices fluctuated wildly, according to the Internet and Security Agency. While the new digital token called BCH soared to a record $2,477 and then fell 50 percent to $1,224, the Bitcoin price plunged to $5,507 and shot back up to $6,400, according to CoinMarketCap on Sunday (local time).