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Yonhap News Summary

All News 16:27 February 17, 2020

The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Monday.

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(LEAD) Moon urges all-out efforts to minimize virus impact, reinvigorate economy

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in instructed his economy team Monday to take "strong" measures to minimize the effects of the coronavirus outbreak and create "tangible changes" in the overall economy and people's livelihoods this year.

He warned of the possibility that the slump in South Korea's economy will be prolonged, saying economic damage from the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic is worse than that resulting from MERS in 2015.

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(LEAD) S. Korea to draw up further measures to contain economic impact of coronavirus

SEJONG -- South Korea's finance minister said Monday the government will draw up a package of comprehensive measures to preemptively contain the economic impact of the novel coronavirus, which is expected to threaten the fragile Chinese and global economies.

In a policy report to President Moon Jae-in, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the measures, including policy tools to support exports, consumption and investment, will be introduced by the end of this month.

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(4th LD) S. Korea back on alert over community transmission, 1 more virus case brings total to 30

SEOUL -- South Korea on Monday identified another case of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to 30, with the latest two cases prodding the health authorities to actively take steps to prevent community transmission.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the country's latest patient is the 68-year-old wife of the 29th infected person, who tested positive for the virus Sunday.

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Moody's cuts S. Korea's 2020 growth outlook to 1.9 pct over virus fallout

SEOUL -- Ratings agency Moody's on Monday cut its forecast for South Korea's 2020 economic growth to 1.9 percent from 2.1 percent, citing the economic fallout of the new coronavirus.

The latest forecast by Moody's is lower than the Bank of Korea's prediction of 2.3 percent expansion for this year.

The spread of COVID-19 in China and around the world is expected to have a negative impact on tourism and industrial production in Asian nations, including South Korea and Japan, Moody's said.

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S. Korea to boost exports by expanding portfolio, clinching more FTAs

SEOUL -- South Korea on Monday pledged to spare no efforts in fostering new growth engines for exports, including hydrogen cars and non-memory chips, in line with efforts to diversify its industrial portfolio and overcome pending uncertainties, including the new coronavirus.

The measures came amid rising concerns that the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus around the globe will delay the recovery of South Korean exports, which were earlier estimated to expand 3 percent in 2020, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

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S. Korea's key sectors unfazed by Japan's export curbs: minister

SEOUL -- South Korea said Monday that its key industrial sectors suffered no disruptions over the past eight months after Japan imposed restrictions on exports to Seoul of three key industrial materials critical for chip and display industries.

"There was not a single disruption in the country's production (of affected goods) despite the abrupt export restrictions by Tokyo," Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said during a policy report to President Moon Jae-in.

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(LEAD) Main opposition, 2 minor parties launch new merged party for April elections

SEOUL -- The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and two minor parties officially launched their new merged party Monday, a move to integrate conservatives ahead of the April parliamentary elections.

The United Future Party (UFP) set sail as the LKP approved a move to unify with the New Conservative Party and Onward for Future 4.0 last week.

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POSCO International discovers prospective gas field off Myanmar

SEOUL -- POSCO International Corp., a South Korean general trading company, said Monday that it has discovered a prospective gas field off the western coast of Myanmar.

A drill stem test in the Mahar exploration well in Block A-3 in December showed that the area is expected to produce about 38 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas, according to POSCO International.
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