GDP Compression in South Korea Triggers Currency Slide

Thursday’s sudden contraction within the South Korean financial system was met by a variety of reactions in commercial markets, from a flurry of exercise in swaps to a gentle indifference in equities.

The curiosity-fee swap curve shifted decrease after knowledge confirmed gross home product shrank 0.3% within the first quarter from the earlier three months, versus expectations of an 0.3% achieve. The forex prolonged its decline right into a fourth day because the figures confirmed U.S.-China commerce tensions and a know-how downturn are taking a toll on Korea’s export-pushed economic system.

Listed here are three charts that illustrate how Korean markets reacted to the most significant contraction within the economic system since 2008:

Curiosity Charge Swaps

Non-deliverable curiosity-price swaps fell throughout the curve, led by longer tenors, as buyers elevated wagers on Financial institution of Korea motion. Whereas file family debt has prevented the BOK from easing coverage up to now, the weak knowledge fueled hypothesis of a charge minimizes within the face of muted inflationary pressures.

The invalid GDP numbers, “coupled with low inflation, must encourage the BOK to reply with simpler coverage charges,” stated Rob Carnell, Asia-Pacific head of analysis and chief economist at ING Groep NV in Singapore. “I’m in search of the BOK to chop this quarter by 25 foundation factors,” whereas the info “raises the chance that they could have to chop greater than as soon as.”


The GDP shock got here scorching on the heels of a sequence of company earnings disappointments, and shares noticed a modest decline. The benchmark Kospi Index has already been underperforming its regional friends this 12 months, elevating the chance world funds could unwind a few of they are $6.7 billion prices of web purchases in 2019.

Share worth declines this week are much less linked to limited financial knowledge, which was already anticipated and priced in, and extra to company earnings, mentioned Park So-Yeon, the strategist at Korea Funding & Securities.

Foreign money Market

The mix of weak financial progress and dismal company earnings took a toll on the nation’s forex, with the greenback-received change charge leaping as a lot as 0.9 % to 1,161.40, its highest since March 2017. Technical indicators suggest the bullish momentum may see the pair lengthen its advance towards 1,200. The received is already the worst-performing Asian foreign money this 12 months, down about three.6 % towards the dollar.