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(LEAD) S. Korean economy in good position as N. Korea tensions ease: S&P

2018/05/17 16:01

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SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- Standard & Poor's, a global rating agency, made a positive assessment of the South Korean economy amid eased inter-Korean tensions, the country's chief economic policymaker said Thursday.

"S&P sees the overall conditions surrounding the Korean economy positively, and it also views progress in the geopolitical risks involving North Korea in a favorable light," Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said after a meeting with a S&P delegation.

"But they expressed concerns over the job market," he said.

Led by Kim Eng Tan, senior director of Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings at S&P, the delegation has been in South Korea since Tuesday to meet officials from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Bank of Korea and other government agencies.

The annual meeting came against the backdrop of improving inter-Korean relations following recent events, such as the inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un late last month.

On April 27, the leaders of the two Koreas held a summit at the border village of Panmunjom in which they vowed an end to hostilities, the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the establishment of a permanent and solid peace regime.

Moody's upgraded its rating for South Korea to "Aa2" in 2015, the third-highest level on the company's table, while Standard and Poor's also gave the country a grade hike to "AA" in 2016. Fitch has maintained its fourth-highest rating, "AA-," for Asia's fourth-largest economy since 2012.

Meanwhile, the rating agency said Seoul's decision to regularly disclose its foreign exchange intervention will help improve the transparency of the country's foreign exchange policy, according to the ministry.

Earlier in the day, the finance ministry said the government will reveal its records on currency market intervention biannually for one year and then switch to quarterly disclosures as part of efforts to minimize any negative impact on the market.

The disclosures will be made within three months after a reporting period, and the net amount of U.S. dollars used for selling and buying by the country's currency authorities will be disclosed, according to the ministry. The quarterly releases will begin in the third quarter of 2019.

South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon (L) speaks during a meeting with a delegation from Standard & Poor's in Seoul on May 17, 2018. (Yonhap) South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon (L) speaks during a meeting with a delegation from Standard & Poor's in Seoul on May 17, 2018. (Yonhap)

sam@yna.co.kr

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