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Top financial regulator reassures investors over latest Kospi dip

FSC Chairman Koh Seung-beom attends a meeting on the financial market at the regulator‘s headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Financial Services Commission)
FSC Chairman Koh Seung-beom attends a meeting on the financial market at the regulator‘s headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Financial Services Commission)

South Korea’s top financial regulator attempted to calm local investors Friday over the latest dip in the Kospi following the US Federal Reserve’s March rate hike signal.

“It is true that the Kospi dip has an excessive aspect to it,” Financial Services Commission Chairman Koh Seung-beom said in a meeting on the financial market.

“It would not be appropriate for investors to be overly dampened or concerned,” he added.

The nation’s benchmark Kospi fell 3.5 percent to end at 2,614.49 points on Thursday, the lowest closing position in 14 months, hours after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee “is of a mind to raise the federal funds rate at the March meeting, assuming conditions are appropriate for doing so.” The Kospi recovered somewhat Friday, trading some 1.4 percent higher at 2,653.61 around 2 p.m.

Powell’s hawkish remark sent jitters across global markets.

Koh said that the FSC would continue close monitoring of related risks as dips in the US stock market were observed overnight. On Thursday (Eastern Standard Time) S&P 500 fell 0.54 percent, while Nasdaq shed 1.4 percent.

The FSC chief explained that while the Kospi has dipped some 250 points or 8.7 percent in the last five trading days, Korea has posted a robust economic growth backed by fast recovery in exports and corporate performance.

The nation’s central bank recently said that Asia’s fourth-largest economy expanded by 4 percent in 2021, with government data showing that exports in the first 20 days of this year gained 22 percent on-year to $34.4 billion.

But Koh also addressed the risks surrounding the market, including the faster-than-expected shift in the US’ monetary policy, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine tension, the spread of the omicron variant and global supply chain disruptions, asking officials to make their best efforts to minimize market volatilities here.

“While the local markets will be closed between Jan. 31 and Feb. 2 due to Lunar New Year holiday, I must ask officials to monitor the market during the period with caution,” Koh said.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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