South Korea

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinbin has declared bankruptcy after suffering millions of dollars in losses, in part due to claimed embezzlement, CoinDesk reported. Coinbin published a notice on its website on Wednesday, stating that “increased debt” and “government regulation” led to the firm having to halt its business operations. Specifically, it said regulators’ suspension of its ability to issue virtual accounts to users was part of the cause, as well as increased operating expenses and liabilities from its collapsed subsidiary exchange Youbit.

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The South Korean government has attempted to remedy the problem but its roots are deep: the country’s powerful conglomerates and offshore competition are squeezing smaller employers, the Financial Times reported. “Although SMEs account for a small portion of the country’s GDP, their trouble has a big impact on the job market and consumption,” said Lee Sang-jae, an economist at Eugene Investment and Securities. Chinese competition is hollowing out vast tracts of industry that once girded South Korea’s export-led economy.

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South Korean has announced a fresh set of measures to boost economic growth and create jobs by offering financial support for smaller companies and a fuel tax cut to spur consumption. The latest measures come as the administration of President Moon Jae-in comes under growing pressure to revitalise a stalled economy and weak jobs market, the Financial Times reported.

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South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine is getting another $5 billion in state funding to finance a series of new orders for megaships as the company tries to compete with bigger Asian and European rivals in a difficult container shipping market. HMM, the country’s de facto flag carrier after the collapse of Hanjin Shipping Co. in 2016, will spend $2.8 billion to buy 20 large container vessels from South Korean shipbuilders, The Wall Street Journal reported. The rest of the money will likely be used to buy container terminals, according to people involved in the matter.
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South Korea’s central bank warned on Thursday that household debt was growing much faster than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average as large mortgages and high rents drive up indebtedness, Reuters reported. “Since the end of the global financial crisis, South Korea’s household debt growth has significantly exceeded that of the OECD, and the trend will continue,” the Bank of Korea (BOK) said in a financial stability report.
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South Korea's Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) has lost its preferred bidder status to buy Toshiba's NuGen nuclear project in Britain as Toshiba looks at other alternatives, the Japanese company said on Tuesday. The project in Moorside, northwest England, was expected to provide around 7 percent of Britain's electricity when built, but has faced setbacks after Toshiba's nuclear arm Westinghouse went bankrupt last year, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story.
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The economy of South Korea, which is very reliant on China, may see more adverse impact than previously expected from China’s plan for deleveraging, the Bank of Korea said in a report on Sunday, Bloomberg News reported. South Korea’s gross domestic product growth could be 0.3 percentage point less than expected in 2018 and maybe 1.2 percentage point less in 2020 because of Chin’s plan to cut financial risks by deleveraging, the central bank said in its report, citing data from Oxford Economics and Fitch.
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Shares of Asiana Airlines shot up more than 20 per cent on Tuesday morning on a media report that SK Group is considering buying the troubled airline - a claim the conglomerate later denied, the Financial Times reported. Asiana shares climbed as much as 23 per cent to Won5,130 ($4.57), their highest since May 21, after local online media News Tomato said SK Group, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, is considering a takeover.  But SK Holdings, the holding company of SK Group, denied the media report in a regulatory filing, making Asiana shares give up much of the gains.
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General Motors will stay in South Korea for at least 10 years and set up its Asia-Pacific headquarters in the country, government officials said on Thursday, revealing terms of a deal aimed at rescuing the U.S. automaker’s struggling GM Korea unit, Reuters reported. The U.S. car maker’s Korean unit averted a bankruptcy filing with a wage deal clinched last month, but analysts and customers, as well as the South Korean government, have had doubts about GM’s commitment and about how long the loss-making company will remain in business.
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South Korea said on Wednesday that an impending deal with General Motors to refinance its local unit will ensure the U.S. automaker remains in the country for at least 10 years, as its rights to sell shares and assets will be curtailed, Reuters reported. GM and South Korea reached a preliminary agreement last month to inject $4.35 billion into the loss-making unit to keep it afloat. GM has also announced plans to close one of its four South Korean plants, cut headcount by almost 3,000 and has reached a deal on wages with its workers.
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