It's time now for an in-depth look at the global markets this afternoon.
And for that I'm joined on the line by Dr. Hwang Sei-woon, research fellow at the Korea Capital Market Institute.
Dr. Hwang, thank you for coming on today.
From today, Japan has taken Korea off its whitelist of preferred trading partners. There are also concerns that Japan's original restrictions on the three semiconductor materials could extend to other items too. What are the areas that could be affected in this way and what are the chances of that happening?
Japan on Wednesday put into force its decision to remove South Korea from the white-list, further deepening a row between the two countries over trade and wartime history.
South Korean manufacturers of cutting-edge electronic components are likely to face increasing costs and burdens in securing high-tech materials and parts from Japan following the neighbor’s decision to remove it from a list of entrusted trade partners. Korean companies that purchase any of the 1,115 items designated as strategic materials from Japan will now be required to submit extra documents including export approval, the final users’ covenants and reasons for import. As many as 857 industrial materials and parts purchased by Korean businesses are expected to be subject to tighter screening by Japan.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon held a meeting today with the ministers related to this issue. He said the government is going to provide support to the affected sectors over the next three years to the tune of 5 trillion won, or more than 4 billion dollars. How effective do you think that'll be?
South Korea’s plan aims stabilizing the supply channel of parts, materials and equipment, and spurring their localization as South Korea seeks to reduce heavy reliance on imports of key Japanese materials. The plan is expected to help reduce the negative impacts from the Japanese export restrictions.
The plan to inject 5 trillion won into its support of the local parts and materials industries will trigger private investment in the industry sectors and strengthen industrial efforts to replace Japanese materials. For a long time, both public and private sectors have been raising the need for localization of the key parts and materials. However, the accompanying costs in terms of money and time were big hurdle. There were quite good number of local companies which could supply what were demanded by industries, but their supply were not cost competitive and not able to satisfy the market expectations. The government plan is likely to trigger industrial efforts, and thus enhance the efficiency of the material industries.
Stocks on Wall Street started out higher on Tuesday, but the yield on the 30-year treasury now below 2 percent, this yield inversion getting worse. What's happening there and in the Asian markets?
In Wall Street, stocks ended lower Tuesday, erasing solid gains from earlier in the day, as a recession indicator from the bond market worsened and fears around the U.S.-China trade war increased. The spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and the 2-year rate fell to negative 5 basis points, its lowest level since 2007. Market experts fear it because in the past it has preceded recessionary periods. The 3-month Treasury bill rate also traded higher than the 30-year bond yield. Market sentiment was also dampened after Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times in China, tweeted that China is putting so much emphasis on trade talks, adding that it’s more and more difficult for the US to press China to make concessions as China’s economy becomes increasingly driven by its domestic growth.
Asian shares eked out meager gains on Wednesday, as higher Wall Street futures provided some relief for investors after an overnight U.S. selloff, though deeper worries about the global economy are likely to keep a lid on sentiment. Japan's Nikkei and South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.15% and 0.35% respectively, while Hong Kong’s Hangseng lost 0.03% today.
Alright, Dr. Hwang. That's where we'll have to leave it for now.
Thanks so much for coming on, as always.