Hyun touts importance of stabilizing markets


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 - Page 13

South Korean Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said stabilizing foreign-exchange markets should be an important policy agenda as the yen’s slide continues to threaten Korean exports.

“The foreign-exchange market can be a source of shock” for the economy, Hyun told reporters in Bundang, South Korea, on his second day as South Korea’s minister of finance. “We always need to make sure stabilizing the foreign-exchange market is an important policy agenda.”

Hyun’s comments come as Asia’s fourth-largest economy plans a stimulus budget to spur growth, while the decline in Japan’s currency is making South Korean goods relatively more expensive. The yen weakened against all 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg News in the past six months, including a decline of about 21 percent against the won.

Hyun called for international cooperation to deal with the yen’s slide, saying a discussion is needed at the G20 level.

“We need to factor in the yen problem as we think about policy measures, as exports and domestic demand are two big pillars of our economy,” Hyun said.

Hyun, 62, was appointed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday in the face of objections from opposition lawmakers. He vowed to use “all possible measures to speed the economic recovery” in his written inaugural speech yesterday, and said measures should be announced this month.

Hyun was president of the state research center Korea Development Institute, which was founded by Park’s father, former South Korean president Park Chung-hee.