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S. Korea to hold annual meeting with Fitch this week

Finance minister to emphasize Korean government’s efforts to improve economic vitality through investment, exports

Fitch Ratings executives are due to meet top officials from various ministries, central bank and the US Embassy this week, the Finance Ministry said Monday.

The annual credit valuation consultation will be led by James McCormack, Fitch’s global head of sovereign and supranational ratings. The delegation will be in South Korea from Tuesday to Thursday for meetings with officials from the Ministry of Economy and Finance; Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; Ministry of Unification; Bank of Korea; US Embassy; and other government agencies.

The credit rating agency will review Korea’s macroeconomic policies, financial issues here such as household debt and financial stability, and prospects for negotiations on denuclearization and inter-Korean economic cooperation. 


Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (left) shakes hands with James McCormack, managing director and global head of sovereign and supranational ratings at Fitch, ahead of the annual meeting in Washington in October. (Ministry of Economy and Finance)
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (left) shakes hands with James McCormack, managing director and global head of sovereign and supranational ratings at Fitch, ahead of the annual meeting in Washington in October. (Ministry of Economy and Finance)

The Fitch executives will meet government officials -- who will explain the country’s economic trends and policy direction -- on Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki is expected to emphasize the country’s efforts to improve economic vitality through investment and exports, along with structural reforms for medium- and long-term economic growth, according to officials.

Fitch discloses its credit rating results two to three months after the annual meetings.

At the end of last month, the global rating agency kept its sovereign rating for Korea steady at AA- with a stable rating outlook. AA- is the fourth-highest level on its sovereign ratings list.

Taiwan, Belgium and Qatar received the same rating as Korea, while China got an A+ and Japan got an A.

In the given period, other global credit rating agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s kept their ratings for Korea at AA, one level higher than the AA- from Fitch.

Last month, Minister Hong met in Washington with senior executives of S&P’s and Fitch and said Korea would mobilize all policy tools to achieve economic growth in the 2 percent range this year.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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