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U.S. Fed tapering likely to hurt S. Korean exports to emerging markets: report

U.S. Fed tapering likely to hurt S. Korean exports to emerging markets: report

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Published : 2013-12-20 17:01
Updated : 2013-12-20 17:01

The U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to taper its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus program is expected to hurt South Korea's exports to emerging economies, a report by a local think tank said Friday.

The Institute for International Trade, the research arm of the Korea International Trade Association, said the fall in outbound shipments will be felt the most in emerging markets that are more vulnerable to the Fed's decision to reduce its monthly bond purchases by US$10 billion to $75 billion starting next month.

In particular, exports to the nations cited by the Economist magazine as "high risk" -- Turkey, Romania, Poland, Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Argentina, Indonesia and Chile -- could suffer from the tapering, the report said.

South Korea's exports to these countries accounted for only 6.6 percent of its total exports this year, or $33.7 billion. But when the 12 "medium risk" countries such as Brazil, Egypt, India, South Africa and Russia are included, the combined total makes up nearly 20 percent of Seoul's outbound shipments that totaled $98.6 billion this current year.

"Overall, there has been a dip in exports to developing economies since June that may continue into the New Year," the institute said.

 On the other hand, South Korea's shipments to advanced economies will probably not be negatively affected. They could instead grow as most estimates point toward an economic rebound in many industrialized nations.

Washington is predicting steady growth and low unemployment numbers in the U.S., while other countries anticipate slow but steady growth. Japan is forecast to do better than expected.

The institute, meanwhile, said Seoul's financial market and its present economic health will for the most part insulate the country from being hurt like some other countries. 

South Korea's current account surplus compared to its gross domestic product (GDP) stands at 3.8 percent, and its foreign reserves per capita stand at 29.2 percent of GDP.

The local currency could be a variable, with a weakening against the dollar making South Korea's products price-competitive abroad, the report said. (Yonhap News)

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