Archive

Reuters blog archive

from Photographers' Blog:

Surrounded by demonstrations in South Korea

It was October, 1990 when I was on a street in central Seoul for the first times as a news photographer. My first job: to cover an anti-government demonstration by students and workers. Protected by a helmet and gas mask, I shot pictures with a Nikon FM2 without the help of a motor drive. It was a battle. The protesters, hundreds of them, had steel bars, stones and petrol bombs. They were forced back by riot police, armed with tear gas, heavy sticks and hard-edged shields.

It was in those last days of the country’s period of autocratic rule, riots and mayhem had become almost daily routine. Sometimes, the photographers, including me, were victims of attack from both sides

By 1997, news photography had become my full-time job. By then too, South Korea had a democratic government in power and major protests were less common. When they did happen, the tear gas may have gone but the tactics were tough and people got hurt. But now there was public opinion to worry about. There was an unwritten rule that members of the media should not be attacked.

This year, things changed again.

In May, I was covering a rally against the government of President Lee Myung-bak, an ex-businessman who had taken office in February 2008, promising pro-business reforms to set the economy on a new path of growth.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea considering steps to boost bank liquidity

SEOUL, Nov 11 (Reuters) - South Korea is looking at measures to enhance foreign currency liquidity at banks, a top regulator said on Wednesday, which reportedly may require them to hold U.S. Treasuries as a portion of their foreign assets.

Chin Dong-soo, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, told reporters that the authorities were in discussion over several measures on bank liquidity, without elaborating.

When asked, he did not deny the possibility of having banks hold a level of U.S. Treasuries in their foreign currency assets.

from Left field:

Third time lucky for Pyeongchang?

pyeongchangWith the race for the 2018 winter Games now officially underway, and with the surprise choice of Rio de Janeiro for 2016 fresh in the mind, bid cities will be asking themselves whether paying your Olympic dues is the key factor in getting the Games.

If so, Pyeongchang will have the advantage in the race with Munich and France's Annecy, with a decision set for 2011.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea mulls controls on foreign banks’ forex liquidity

SEOUL, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The South Korean government is considering controlling foreign currency liquidity at branches of foreign banks in the country to cope with potential financial market crises, a senior finance ministry official said.

The country has regulations on foreign currency liquidity ratios for local banks, but not branches of foreign banks.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea president: world economic crisis not over

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak    SEOUL, Oct 13 (Reuters) - South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said on Tuesday it was premature for the country to end its crisis management status, saying the world economy was not out of the woods yet.
   "I believe our government must maintain its crisis management system for the time being because the world economy has not come out of the crisis yet," a statement from the presidential Blue House quoted Lee as saying during a scheduled cabinet meeting.
    Later, Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun told a parliamentary session government mortgage lending controls imposed last month were taking effect as real estate prices in the capital area were showing signs of stabilising.
   "Real estate prices that had been growing fast in the capital areas are now stabilising after the introduction of DTI (debt-to-income ratio) measures," he said, referring to the government's move last month to limit the amount of mortgage loans depending on the borrower's income.
   The comments came after the central bank chief's remarks giving credit to the lending controls and calling for caution about economic optimism dampened expectations among investors for an interest rate increase this year. [ID:nSP479672]
   The Bank of Korea has held the benchmark 7-day repurchase agreement rate <KROCRT=ECI> steady at a record-low 2.0 percent for the past eight consecutive months after reductions totalling 3.25 percentage points over four months since last October.
   Its governor, Lee Seong-tae, expressed in August and September his concern about rising housing prices, convincing investors to price in heightened risk of an early increase in interest rates. (Reporting by Yoo Choonsik; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner) ((choonsik.yoo@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5580; Reuters Messaging: choonsik.yoo.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: KOREA ECONOMY/CRISIS 
  
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 03:56:31RTRS [nSEO367164] {C}ENDS

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea to restrict FX borrowing, excessive hedging

A South Korean bank clerk shows new 5,000-won ($4.93) bank notes at the headquarters of Woori Bank in Seoul January 2, 2006. The Bank of Korea begun to distribute on Monday the new 5,000-won bank notes, the second-highest denomination in the country's currency, which is aimed to prevent counterfeiting and forgery attempts for public use, local media reported. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon    Sept 25 (Reuters) - South Korea is discussing measures to crack down on excessive foreign-currency borrowing by banks, Chin Dong-soo, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said.
   The timing of the proposed measures may be flexible, depending on decisions on global standards by the Financial Stability Board, the G20's regulation coordination arm, he said.
   For a related story, click on [ID:SEO144752]
   Following are the planned steps Chin unveiled at a briefing.
   -- Tighten criteria on foreign currency liquidity ratios by differentiating weightings of foreign assets by retrieval probability
   -- Make obligatory the holding of safe foreign assets such as foreign currency-denominated bonds with ample liquidity and high credit ratings
   -- Set risk management standards on foreign derivatives transactions to crack down on excessive forex hedging and speculative trading
   -- Increase the obligatory ratio of foreign borrowing with more than one year maturity to 110 percent of total foreign borrowing in 2009 and 120 percent in 2010, from the current 80 percent
   -- Impose a ceiling on foreign asset size and leverage ratios in proportion to capital to restrict foreign asset growth
   -- Tighten disclosure rules over currency hedging costs from asset management companies, which had been blamed for banks' rush to borrow short-term debt
    (Reporting by Kim Yeon-hee in SEOUL; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)
  ((yeonhee.kim@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5646; Reuters Messaging: yeonhee.kim.reuters.com@reuters.net))
  ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to newsfeedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))
Keywords: KOREA ECONOMY/ 
  
Friday, 25 September 2009 05:33:48RTRS [nSEO112172] {C}ENDS

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea to take action on abnormal capital moves

KOREA    SEOUL, Sept 7 (Reuters) - South Korea will take aggressive actions if there are any abnormal movements in capital, its top financial regulator said on Monday, amid growing concerns about adverse effects from abundant short-term liquidity. "As for the trends in short-term funds, household debts and corporate lending, we will conduct vigilant monitoring and take aggressive actions on any tipping effect or abnormal movement of capital," Chin Dong-soo, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, told reporters.
   The commission's implementation arm, the Financial Supervisory Service, expanded from Monday limits on mortgage lending to the whole of the capital Seoul and two adjacent areas to put a brake on growing home-backed borrowing. (Reporting by Yoo Choonsik; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner) ((choonsik.yoo@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5580; Reuters Messaging: choonsik.yoo.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: FINANCIAL/KOREA CAPITAL 
  
Monday, 07 September 2009 04:40:00RTRS [nSEW000134] {C}ENDS

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea takes measures to curb mortgage borrowing

Apartment houses, office buildings and residences are seen in central Seoul September 1, 2009. Housing prices across South Korea rose for a fifth consecutive month in August from July, although staying below year-earlier levels, data from the country's top lender showed on Tuesday.  REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won (SOUTH KOREA CITYSCAPE BUSINESS)    SEOUL, Sept 4 (Reuters) - South Korea said on Friday it would impose limits on mortgage borrowing in the capital Seoul and two nearby areas, effective from Monday.
   Under the move, the amount of borrowing on homes will be limited by the borrower's income rather than the value of the home. (Reporting by Yoo Choonsik; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner) ((choonsik.yoo@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5580; Reuters Messaging: choonsik.yoo.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: KOREA ECONOMY/MORTGAGE 
  
Friday, 04 September 2009 08:15:17RTRS [nSEO324023] {C}ENDS

from Commentaries:

Tough talking for Rio on China iron ore

CHINA-IRONORE/No great surprise that Rio Tinto has acknowledged it has given up trying to fix an annual iron ore price with Chinese steel mills.

What strains credibility is the miner's insistence that this has nothing to do with the detention of its negotiating team in China.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

South Korea mulls OTC derivatives clearing house

A businessman walks past a banner promoting interest of CMA (Cash Management Account) of a local securities company in Seoul July 14, 2009. South Korea is moving to screen over-the-counter (OTC) derivative products ahead of their market debut, as regulators worldwide look to curb free-wheeling derivatives trading and protect investors.   REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won (SOUTH KOREA BUSINESS)   SEOUL, Aug 26 (Reuters) - South Korea may introduce an over-the-counter derivatives clearing house, a top regulator said on Wednesday, the latest in a series of moves to curb free-wheeling derivatives trading.
   Governments worldwide have been tightening OTC derivatives regulations in the wake of the global credit crisis, with the United States proposing laws to increase central clearing in a bid to bring transparency and liquidity to the market for credit default swaps. [ID:nN30375406]
   South Korea's OTC derivatives markets are still in the early stage of growth, although on-the-market options for the KOSPI 200 index <.KS200> ranked the world's largest by transaction volume.
   OTC derivatives markets had been viewed as the main beneficiary of a deregulated financial industry in Asia's fourth-largest economy, prompting a rush by foreign banks to apply for the licenses.
   "From a long-term perspective, we have a plan to improve the infrastructure system of over-the-counter derivatives markets," Financial Supervisory Service Governor Kim Jong-chang said in a speech prepared for a derivatives conference.
   "With a clearing house, we can reduce risks arising from counter party's settlement failures and mitigate operational risks by setting up a transaction registration place."
   Clearing houses mutualise risk, set margin requirements and make public the terms of trade.
   The outstanding nominal value of South Korean banks' OTC derivatives products reached 4.8 times gross domestic product at end-2008, compared with 12.2 times for U.S. banks and 6.6 times for Japanese banks, Kim said.
   For credit derivatives products, the outstanding value was $5 billion at South Korean banks at end-2008, versus $20 trillion for the United States and $360 billion for Japan. (Reporting by Kim Yeon-hee; Editing by Ian Geoghegan) ((yeonhee.kim@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5646; Reuters Messaging: yeonhee.kim.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to newsfeedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))
Keywords: KOREA DERIVATIVES/ 
  
     Keywords: KOREA DERIVATIVES/ 
  
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 02:09:03RTRS [nSEO59491 ] {C}ENDS

  •