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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:31 June 17, 2021

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

Moon attends Spain's business forum with King Felipe VI

BARCELONA -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in attended a major annual economic forum of Spain with King Felipe VI on Wednesday.

Addressing the inaugural dinner of the three-day event in Barcelona, Moon proposed that the two countries spearhead preparations for the post-coronavirus era via a win-win approach.

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New virus cases in 500s for 2nd day, vaccinations set to be expanded to more age groups

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases remained in the 500s for the second day Thursday as health authorities are set to announce the vaccination plan for the next quarter that centers on people aged under 60 and priority groups.

The country reported 540 more virus cases, including 523 local infections, raising the total caseload to 149,731, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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S. Korea, U.S. extend US$60 bln currency swap deal until Dec.

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States have agreed to extend their US$60 billion currency swap agreement by another three months through Dec. 31, which was signed to help ease market uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Thursday.

The BOK and the Federal Reserve reached an agreement to extend the bilateral currency swap deal, which was due to expire on Sept. 30, after extending it twice since it went effect in March 2020 to ease financial jitters caused by the pandemic.

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N.K. holds key party meeting for second day with focus on economy

SEOUL -- North Korea held a key Workers' Party meeting for the second day with a focus on economic issues, according to state media Thursday, amid speculation that foreign policy could also have been discussed.

Photos released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) showed leader Kim Jong-un presiding over a panel discussion during the second-day plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon was seen taking down notes in one of the photos.

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S. Korea to place policy priority on increasing home supply: minister

SEOUL -- South Korea's top economic policymaker said Thursday the government will focus on increasing the housing supply in a bid to curb market expectations for continued rises in home prices.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the supply of homes is expected to increase after 2022 as the construction of new properties has increased since May.

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Memory chip market to grow 32 pct in 2021, Korean chipmakers set to bask in boom

SEOUL -- The global memory chip market is forecast to increase 32 percent this year, a report showed Thursday, boding well for South Korean chipmakers that dominate the sector.

Sales growth for the DRAM market is expected to reach 41 percent in 2021, the second largest among 33 integrated circuit (IC) products, while that of NAND flash is projected to be 22 percent, according to the latest McClean report released by market researcher IC Insights.

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S. Korea's No. 3 bookstore chain goes bankrupt

SEOUL -- Bandi & Luni's, the country's third-biggest bookstore chain that runs both online and in-person channels, has filed for bankruptcy.

Seoul Mungo, the company behind the bookstore chain, sent an emergency letter notifying the bankruptcy to members of a local publishers' association on Wednesday. The company reportedly failed to pay a promissory note due the previous day.

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Seoul stocks open lower on Fed's hawkish comment

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks opened lower Thursday as the Federal Reserve made comments about an earlier-than-expected timeline for a rate hike.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 19.61 points, or 0.6 percent, to trade at 3,259.07 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

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S. Korea vigilant over market volatility after Fed's hawkish stance

SEOUL -- South Korea will closely monitor the financial market as market volatility could increase following the Federal Reserve's signal of an earlier-than-expected rate hike, a senior government official said Thursday.

After freezing its key rate at near zero at a policy meeting, the Fed signaled an earlier-than-expected rate increase in 2023 as U.S. inflation is rising amid an economic recovery. The U.S. central bank also hinted at starting to discuss ways to taper bond-buying programs.

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PPP sees influx of young members following new leader's sensational election

SEOUL -- The conservative main opposition People Power Party (PPP) has seen an influx of new members, especially those in their 20s and 30s, in the wake of the sensational ascent of young new party leader Lee Jun-seok.

According to party officials, some 23,000 people nationwide have joined the PPP as new members since May 12, including 10,000 who joined through online processes.
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