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Finance minister to stress S. Korea's solid fundamentals in U.S.

All News 15:34 January 08, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance chief will assure overseas investors about the country's solid economic fundamentals when he visits the United States next week ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in mid-January, the finance ministry said Sunday.

Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho will hold a road show for some 120 overseas investors in New York on Wednesday (local time) to explain South Korea's solid fundamentals represented by current account surpluses, stable foreign exchange reserves and further room for monetary easing policies, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

South Korea posted a current account surplus for the 57th consecutive month at US$8.99 billion in November last year. Its foreign exchange reserves stood at $371.99 billion in January, with Standard & Poor's and Moody's currently holding credit ratings at AA and Aa2, respectively, for South Korea.

The Bank of Korea has cut its key rate to an all-time low of 1.25 percent to support growth at Asia's fourth-biggest economy. Experts say the central bank may lower the policy rate further to stimulate spending this year despite a recent rate hike in the U.S.

In December, the finance ministry estimated South Korea's economy will expand 2.6 percent in 2017.

Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho listens to briefings on the economy by the country's five major government agencies at the Government Complex in Seoul Jan. 5, 2017. (Yonhap)

Separately from the road show, Yoo plans to meet experts from global asset management firms in Boston on Monday to explain South Korea's current economic status.

On the following day, he plans to have a separate meeting with investment bank Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and asset manager Blackstone Group's founding CEO Steven Schwartzman to share views on possible economic policies under the incoming Trump administration, the ministry said.

As former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin was tapped by Trump to lead the Treasury Department in November 2016 and Schwartzman is a key economic adviser to Trump, the minister plans to ask them to play a "bridging role" in promoting economic cooperation between Seoul and Washington.

He also plans to underline the two countries have benefited from the bilateral free trade agreement that took effect in March 2012.

Trump has long blamed free trade deals as a key cause of American economic problems and has denounced the pact with Korea as a "job killing" deal and a "disaster."


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