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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 June 02, 2020

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

(3rd LD) S. Korea's Q1 growth revised up but still lowest in over decade

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy shrank at a slightly less-than-expected rate in the first quarter that still marked the slowest growth in over a decade on the growing economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The country's real gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 1.3 percent from three months earlier in the January-March period, 0.1 percentage point lower than the expected 1.4 percent contraction in advance data, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Church-tied virus cases on steady rise ahead of further school reopenings

SEOUL -- South Korea's virus fight hit another snag Tuesday as church-linked cluster infections in the Seoul metropolitan area continued to rise ahead of further school reopenings, a key feature of eased social distancing.

The country identified 38 more cases of the new coronavirus, including 36 local infections, raising the total caseload to 11,541, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Seoul warns of steps against volatile currency moves over U.S.-China tensions

SEJONG -- South Korea's finance ministry said Tuesday it will take steps to stabilize the currency market if volatility rises over escalating tensions between the United States and China as Beijing went ahead with its plan to impose a new security law on Hong Kong.

Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom made the remarks at a meeting with senior officials from the ministry, the Bank of Korea and financial regulators earlier in the day.

Moon's in-person summit season opener still uncertain despite Trump's invitation

SEOUL -- For his summit diplomacy, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, like many of his foreign counterparts, has relied on phone or video links since the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Talk of Moon resuming his formal overseas trips is back with U.S. President Donald Trump's invitation to an expanded Group of 7 (G7) session that he hopes to host as early as September.

Pork price on rise amid pandemic

SEOUL -- The price of pork increased in May from a year earlier as a growing number of people preferred preparing meals at home amid the new coronavirus pandemic, data showed Tuesday.

The average wholesale price of pork reached 5,115 won (US$4.18) per kilogram in May, up 22 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Seoul stocks up late Tue. morning on economic reopening hopes

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks continued to trade higher late Tuesday morning on hopes prompted by economic reopening in major countries, including the United States, which helped offset concerns over U.S.-Sino friction.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 10.34 points, or 0.50 percent, to 2,075.42 as of 11:20 a.m.

BTS' agency Big Hit opens online global audition

SEOUL -- Big Hit Entertainment, the record label and management agency of K-pop giants BTS, has opened an online global audition program for 2020, the company said Tuesday.

Big Hit announced on its official website and social media accounts that it started receiving online applications on Monday for the 2020 Big Hit Global Audition aimed at creating a new boy band that will hopefully achieve the global fame of BTS.

With 1.78 mln more pupils ready to return to school Wednesday, parental concerns remain unresolved

SEOUL -- South Korea is geared up for its third phase of school reopening Wednesday, but parents and educators alike still have a low level of confidence for a return to school.

Since May 20, the government has run the phased school reopening program, first with 440,000 high school seniors and second with 2.37 million students in other year groups, including kindergartners.

Banks' bad loan ratio up in Q1

SEOUL -- South Korean banks' bad loan ratio edged up in the first quarter from the previous quarter due in part to a hike in soured household loans, data showed Tuesday.

The ratio of nonperforming loans to total lending extended by banks came to 0.78 percent as of the end of March, up 0.01 percentage point from three months earlier, according to data from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

S. Korea's corporate loans rise at over decade high rate in Q1

SEOUL -- Loans extended to companies in South Korea jumped at the fastest rate in more than 10 years in the first quarter, central bank data showed Tuesday, apparently on a rise in demand from businesses hit by the fallout from the new coronavirus pandemic.

The outstanding amount of corporate loans came to 1,259.2 trillion won (US$1.03 trillion) at end-March, up 51.4 trillion won from three months earlier, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

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