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(LEAD) S. Korea to create favorable conditions for corporate investments

All Headlines 11:13 January 04, 2019

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout with comments by finance minister; CHANGES headline, photos)

SEJONG, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance minister said Friday that public companies will boost their investments this year as he vowed to make efforts to bolster corporate investments.

"We will make every effort to create favorable conditions for corporate investments to revitalize the economy," Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said in a meeting with other senior policymakers in Seoul.

Hong Nam-ki (L), the minister of economy and finance, speaks in a meeting with other policymakers at the government complex building in central Seoul on Jan. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)

The government has vowed to speed up administrative procedures to ensure quick implementation of major corporate investments worth 6 trillion won (US$5.3 billion), including a 3.7 trillion-won project by Hyundai Motor Group to build a 105-story building in southern Seoul.

In 2014, Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest carmaker by sales, purchased the land for its landmark building, though no significant progress has been made yet due to regulations.

Hong said the Korea Land & Housing Corp. and other public companies will invest a combined 53 trillion won ($47 billion) this year, up 9.5 trillion won from a year earlier.

Separately, South Korea pledged to take measures in case of financial volatility amid concerns that global stock markets may remain unstable for the time being.

"The government will try to minimize any negative side effects that major risk factors at home and abroad could have on South Korea's economy and financial markets," the Ministry of Economy and Finance said in a statement.

The announcement came as Lee Ho-seung, the first vice minister of economy and finance, held a meeting with relevant officials and discussed government measures following a sharp decline in stock markets in the United States and Europe.

Lee Ho-seung (2nd from R), the first vice minister of economy and finance, holds a meeting at the government complex building in central Seoul on Jan. 4, 2019, in this photo was provided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. (Yonhap)

Still, the ministry did not elaborate on what it meant by measures.

Uncertainties over a trade war between the U.S. and China have worsened investor sentiment, which in turn weighed on global stock markets.

The ministry said South Korean financial markets have shown signs of relative stability.
South Korean stocks started nearly flat as the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index edged down 0.20 point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,993.50 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

South Korea -- a small, open economy -- depends heavily on exports and foreign capital investment, a situation that makes it vulnerable to external shocks.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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