Freitag, 24. April 2009

A Korean Miracle?

As pointed out by Creditwritedowns, the Korean economy managed to stagnate in Q1. Quite an amazing feat, considering that just about every developed country expects to suffer record GDP drops. More details on the GDP release here.

However, after taking a closer look, it becomes clear that the "miracle" isn't quite so miraculous after all: Together with Taiwan and Singapore, Korea was among the countries worst hit in Q4, with annualised q-o-q GDP dropping around 20 % (Germany's annualized drop was "only" 8 %, and Japan contracted 12 %). So in a way, Korea has dropped to the bottom first, and other countries are still "catching up". Still, it is sort of encouraging when a sizable country such as Korea has somehow managed to stop its free fall.

(On a side note, the Korean Won has devalued quite drastically over the last 12 months. So exports competitiveness has improved, whereas Koreans' wealth in terms of "foreign purchasing power" has decreased. Among other things, this has lead to an exodus of Korean residents in Beijing: According to this report an amazing 50,000 of them have left Beijing for Korea. Why? For one thing, many Korean families sent their kids to study in Beijing's international schools, because it was so much cheaper than in Korea. No longer, it seems.)

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