|Ups and Downs|
|Subject||South Korean economy|
|Key Words||Recession, Inflation, Economic Growth, Investment|
First it was the Asian financial crisis that sent South Korea's economy into a tailspin. A remarkable recovery followed, with South Korea experiencing double -digit growth for 1999 and the first quarter of 2000. South Korea's growth slowed in the second quarter and many fear that incomplete reform efforts, a-not-as-favorable international climate and rising oil prices will slow economic growth considerably.
The 1997 Asian financial crisis hit South Korea particularly hard. The economy contracted 6.8 percent in 1998, there were a number of business failures, and South Korea's budget deficit climbed. In order to rebuild investor confidence and restore the economy, South Korea embarked upon a number of economic reforms. It tried to eliminate dishonest business practices and debt-laden corporations.
South Korea appears to have had remarkable success. Economic growth was 10.7 percent in 1999, exports soared to record levels and the stock market experienced significant growth. Recent events, however, indicate that there are still some obstacles to South Korea's complete recovery. There are renewed concerns about the health of many of South Korea's large corporations. Daewoo Motor and Hanbo Iron & Steel Co. are both insolvent, and foreign investors have been reluctant to purchase them. The financial sector, strained by bankruptcies and heavy debt, has received additional federal assistance. Inflation, pushed by higher oil prices, is increasing. As a result, the stock market has fallen 47 percent since its year-2000 high in January and the government has warned that higher oil prices could generate a $1 billion current account deficit in 2001.
To many economists, the economic slowdown indicates that South Korea's economy is in need of additional reforms. Since South Korea's economy is an integral part of the other Asian economies, any slowdown or recession would have widespread impact throughout the region.
(Updated November 1, 2000)
|Source||Michael Schuman "Will Half-Finished Reforms Send Korea Back Into Fiscal Crisis?" The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2000.|
Return to the Recession
©1998-2001 South-Western. All Rights Reserved webmaster | DISCLAIMER