from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea president: world economic crisis not over

October 13, 2009

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

September 25, 2009

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

September 7, 2009

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

September 4, 2009

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

September 4, 2009

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.

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

South Korea mulls OTC derivatives clearing house

August 26, 2009

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

from Left field:

Tiger still the inspiration despite Yang’s major success

August 18, 2009

yang

Yang Yong-eun's shock win at the PGA Championship ended an embarrassing drought in major championships for the male of the species in staunchly patriarchal South Korea, where men are men and the women -- well, the women play golf.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

These guys are special forces, huh?

August 9, 2009

Quick quiz: The guys in this photo are...

a) Practicing an ancient Asian cure for backaches

b) Rehearsing for a production of "Oklahoma" at a men's penitentiary

c) Still trying to get the hang of a wheelbarrow race

d) Attending that annual Siamese twin convention in Raleigh

e) They're doing - oh, PLEASE don't make me say it here!

Join the Oddly Enough blog network

Follow this blog on Twitter at rbasler

South Korean special warfare command soldiers exercise before they conduct a sea infiltration drill during a photo call in Taean, South Korea, August 5, 2009. REUTERS/Choi Bu-Seok

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

S.Korea eyes curbs on FX margin trading from Sept

July 16, 2009

KOREA    SEOUL, July 16 (Reuters) - South Korea will sharply lower the leverage investors can employ when trading currencies via margin trading to discourage speculative trading, the top financial regulatory agency said on Thursday.
   Investors will be required from September to deposit 5 percent of the value of their bets as collateral with brokers, up from the current 2 percent. Maximum leverage will be lowered to 20 times from 50 times at present.
   The Financial Services Commission said in a statement the move was aimed at putting the brakes on sharply increasing margin trading by mainly individual investors on the back of a jump in online trading.
   Margin trading allows investors to make leveraged bets on currencies and has grown increasingly popular in recent years among retail investors in South Korea and Japan.
   Such trading is carried out over the counter and the agency's move will have no impact on the spot currency market, the commission said.
   It said the value of foreign exchange margin trading amounted to 357.7 trillion won ($281.5 billion) for the first five months of this year, compared with 418.8 trillion won for all of last year and only 55.9 trillion won in 2007.
   South Korean investors, 99 percent of them individuals, lost 45.5 billion won from the margin trading for the January-May period. ($1=1270.6 Won) (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 FOREX/MARGIN
  
Thursday, 16 July 2009 04:00:06RTRS [nSEO213834] {C}ENDS

from Global News Journal:

How Ill is Kim Jong-il?

July 15, 2009

Photo:A compilation by Reuters of pool photographs and images provided by North Korea's KCNA news agency showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il from 2004 to 2009. The photograph in the lower right was released this week by KCNA