South Korea

Korean consumers were misled by some of the nation’s biggest financial firms and should get back the money they lost when a German property fund collapsed, South Korea’s financial watchdog recommended Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported. The six firms -- Shinhan Securities Co., NH Investment & Securities Co., Hana Bank, Woori Bank, Hyundai Motor Securities Co. and SK Securities Co. -- should repay the 430 billion won ($317 million) clients lost, a panel at Financial Supervisory Service said.
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The meltdown of FTX has triggered a chain reaction in Korea's cryptocurrency-linked stocks, which saw their values plummet on the first trading day after one of the world's largest crypto exchanges filed for bankruptcy, the Korea Times reported. Shares of Com2uS, a game developer which listed its C2X token on the exchange in March, suffered a double-digit decline on Monday, dipping to a new eight-year low. Com2uS shares closed Monday at 61,900 won, down 14.74 percent, from the previous trading day. Other crypto-related stocks in Korea also went on a losing streak on the same day.
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South Korea’s five major financial holding companies pledged a total of 95 trillion won ($67 billion) by the end of this year to help stabilize the credit market, responding to a request of the regulator, Bloomberg News reported. The heads of KB Financial Group Inc., Hana Financial Group Inc., Shinhan Financial Group Co., Woori Financial Group Inc. and NongHyup Financial Group Inc. made the commitment when they met with Financial Services Commission Chairman Kim Joo-hyun, the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday.
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Past financial crises are haunting South Korean policy makers as they rush to support a local credit market that’s quickly gone from one of the world’s safest to teetering on the brink, Bloomberg News reported. As Korea gets swept into a global debt market rout, corporate treasurers and market regulators in Seoul are staring down one of the most rapid deteriorations in the nation’s credit market ever. The rout is one of the worst in Asia’s local-currency markets amid a broader fixed-income slump this year.
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South Korean assets rallied on Monday after the government pledged at least 50 trillion won ($34.8 billion) to prop up credit markets, easing concerns about rising default risks in key sectors including real estate, Bloomberg News reported. The Kospi index advanced as much as 2%, with shares of brokerages and builders such as Kiwoom Securities Co., Meritz Securities Co. and Dongbu Corp. notching up gains. Government bonds rose across the curve while the won jumped as much as 0.8% against the dollar before paring its rise.
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Domestic builders are facing growing concerns over the possibility of a series of bankruptcies amid worsening investor sentiment in the wake of the recent slump in the real estate market, according to industry officials on Thursday, the Korea Times reported. Late last month, Wooseok Construction, a medium-sized builder based in South Chungcheong Province, failed to repay its debt in time. If the company fails to make the payment again, it will be forced into bankruptcy.
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A missed debt payment by the developer of Legoland Korea theme park adds to difficulties faced by the nation’s real estate market already weakened by surging interest rates, Bloomberg News reported. The amusement park opened in May just as turmoil in global debt markets made it much pricier for Korean borrowers including developers to refinance debt. Commercial paper repackaging 205 billion won ($144 million) of loans for the Legoland Korea project wasn’t paid on the maturity date of Sept. 29, according to backers of the project.
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Interpol has issued a “red notice” for the search and arrest of Do Kwon, the South Korean co-founder of Terraform Labs, the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office said on Monday, the New York Times reported. The South Korean authorities had requested assistance from the global police agency to trace Mr. Kwon’s whereabouts earlier this month. Mr. Kwon and his company faced investigations by the South Korean government after the value of his cryptocurrencies, Luna and TerraUSD, plummeted and contributed to a $300 billion crash across the crypto economy in May.
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A court in South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Do Kwon, the founder of the Terraform Labs cryptocurrency ecosystem, whose implosion earlier this year sparked a global crypto rout, Bloomberg News reported. The court in Seoul issued a warrant for Do Kwon and five others on allegations that include violations of the nation’s capital markets law, according to a text message from the prosecutor’s office. All six individuals are located in Singapore, the prosecutor’s office said. Do Kwon didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
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Bank of Korea Governor Rhee Chang-yong said he would join Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in tightening the focus on inflation if prices remain out of control, keeping the door open for another outsized interest-rate hike, Bloomberg News reported. Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Kathleen Hays at Jackson Hole, Rhee said Powell’s remarks at the gathering of central bankers were largely in line with his expectations. But he added that higher US rates may still weaken the won further and lead to stronger inflation in Korea among other uncertain factors influencing policy.
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