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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 January 30, 2019

The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday

S. Korean banks' daily FX turnover hits all-time high in 2018

SEOUL -- The daily foreign exchange (FX) turnover by local and foreign banks in South Korea hit a record high last year on brisk exports and foreign capital inflow, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The daily FX turnover averaged US$55.51 billion in 2018, up 9.6 percent from the previous year's $50.64 billion, according to the data by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The number marked the largest annual daily turnover since 2008, when the BOK started to compile related data.

The daily trading volume of foreign exchange spots reached $21.33 billion last year, up 8.9 percent from a year earlier. Derivatives transactions rose 10.1 percent on-year to a daily $34.18 billion.

(LEAD) Blogger gets 42-month jail term in opinion rigging scandal
(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with court ruling in paras 2-7; TRIMS; RESTRUCTURES)

SEOUL -- A Seoul court sentenced a power blogger to three and a half years in prison on Wednesday for carrying out an illicit cyberoperation to influence public opinion in favor of the ruling Democratic Party ahead of the 2017 presidential election.

The Seoul Central District Court handed down the sentence to Kim Dong-won, finding him guilty of manipulating Internet comments on news articles and bribing a lawmaker.

Kim was also sentenced to a six-month jail term, suspended for one year, for violating the law on political funds.

Kim was indicted for running a computer program to artificially jack up the number of "likes" for Internet political comments to boost positive public sentiment for the then-main opposition DP and its presidential candidate Moon Jae-in.

Seoul shares trade nearly flat late Wednesday morning

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks traded nearly flat late Wednesday morning as investors took a wait-and-see stance amid the falling earnings outlook for major firms in the United States and China.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index stepped down 0.56 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,183.92 as of 11:20 a.m.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics moved up 0.11 percent, while LG Electronics slid 0.3 percent. Samsung SDI moved down 1.09 percent, while SK hynix advanced 1.91 percent.

Samsung begins mass production of 1TB universal flash storage

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday it has begun mass producing the world's first one-terabyte (TB) embedded universal flash storage (eUFS) for use in data-heavy mobile applications.

The world's largest memory maker rolled out the latest storage solution for high-end smartphones, four years after introducing a 128-gigabyte eUFS.

Powered by the company's fifth-generation V-NAND, the new product will make the storage capacity for smartphones "comparable to a premium notebook PC" without additional memory cards, Samsung said.

S. Korea, UNC in talks on details for cross-border delivery of Tamiflu to N. Korea

SEOUL -- South Korea is in talks with the United Nations Command to discuss details on its long-delayed cross-border delivery of antiviral medication to North Korea, the unification ministry said Wednesday, raising expectations that the assistance could be handed over to the North soon.

"There have been delays with regard to the influenza treatment medication delivery to the North due to technical and practical preparatory issues, but now those things have almost been completed," Baik Tae-hyun, the ministry's spokesman, said at a regular press briefing.

"We are now in discussions with the UNC (on the medication provision)," he added. "We are also in talks with North Korea to fix a date for the delivery."

(LEAD) LG Display 2018 net swings to loss on softening LCD prices
(ATTN: REVISES lead; UPDATES with more details, comments from fifth para; ADDS byline)

SEOUL -- South Korean display maker LG Display Co. said Wednesday its net earnings swung to a loss last year due to a drop in large LCD panel prices.

The company, which has vowed to speed up the transition from LCD to OLED panels this year, logged 179 billion won (US$160 million) in net deficit in 2018, compared with a net profit of 1.9 billion won from a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Its annual operating profit tumbled 96.2 percent on-year to 92.9 billion won, and sales dropped 12.4 percent to 24.3 trillion won.

LG Chem net profit sinks 25 pct on weak demand for key products

SEOUL -- LG Chem Ltd., South Korea's top chemicals firm, said Wednesday that its profit plunged 25 percent in 2018 from a year earlier as the global economic slowdown sapped demand for its key petrochemical products.

Net profit reached 1.52 trillion won (US$1.36 billion) last year, compared with 2.02 trillion won tallied in the previous year, it said in a regulatory filing.

Operating income declined 23.3 percent on-year to reach 2.25 trillion won, but sales rose 9.7 percent to 28.18 trillion won over the cited period, the company said.

(2nd LD) N. Korea unlikely to give up nuclear arsenal: U.S. intel chief
(ATTN: UPDATES with U.S. intelligence official's remark in para 11)

WASHINGTON -- North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons program, the U.S. intelligence chief said Tuesday, calling into question the efficacy of ongoing diplomacy to denuclearize the regime.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats made the remark at a Senate panel hearing, with only weeks to go before a planned second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival," Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee, referring to weapons of mass destruction.


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