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Ten percent gain of S. Korean won against yen forecast to cause 1.9 pct export cut
SEOUL, April 28 (Yonhap) -- A 10 percent gain in the South Korean won against the Japanese yen may lead to a 1.9 percent year-on-year cut in South Korean firms' exports in the April-June period, a government report said amid concerns that Japan's recent monetary easing may cause the won to appreciate.

   "As the U.S. dollar-yen exchange rate is nearing the ratio of (one dollar) to 100 yen, we are facing increasing threats the depreciating yen may bring to South Korea's exports," the report by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said as it made the forecast.

   South Korean firms' exports of steel, machines and electronics goods to Japan shrank by 25 percent, 23.9 percent and 19.2 percent, respectively, in the first three months of this year as the yen depreciation made South Korean goods more expensive in Japan.

   The government report said local small- and medium-size exporters may be hit harder than their conglomerate peers from the depreciating yen.

   "If the yen's descent continues for the long term, South Korea could face growing downward pressure in exports," a ministry official said. He said the finance ministry is planning to expand financial aid to smaller exporters and help them minimize foreign exchange losses.

   The yen has been under downward pressure from the U.S. dollar, driven by Japan's powerful monetary easing earlier in April. The Korean won appreciated 4.7 percent per yen in the first quarter, compared with the end of 2012.