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Listed firms to log better earnings in 2020: institute

All News 15:44 January 29, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's listed companies will log improved earnings this year on better conditions, a think tank said Wednesday.

The combined operating profit of the companies listed on the main KOSPI is expected to reach 159 trillion won (US$135 billion) this year, up 29 percent from last year's estimated 123 trillion won, according to the Korea Capital Market Institute (KCMI).

"The listed firms' profit margins have been on a decrease since the latter half of 2017, but we are expecting the numbers to rise this year," said Kim Joon-seok, a researcher at the institute.

Kim expects Asia's fourth-largest economy to improve this year on the back of continued U.S. economic expansion, leading to a strong foreign net buying of local stocks.

Foreign investors, who were net sellers in 2018, net bought 1 trillion won worth of local shares in 2019 on high hopes for favorable earnings forecast among the market kingpin chipmakers.

Foreign stock holdings accounted for 38.4 percent of the market capitalization on the main bourse last year, up from the previous year's 35.8 percent, according to the main bourse data.

The institute projected that South Korea's economy would grow 2.2 percent this year, citing the slower-than-expected recovery in consumption and construction investments. The estimate is still higher than last year's 2 percent expansion, the slowest in a decade.

South Korea's exports are likely to rebound 3 percent this year amid a recovery in chip prices and eased uncertainties over the trade row between the United States and China, the country's top two trading partners.

Last year, outbound shipments by Asia's fourth-largest economy fell by more than 10 percent.


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