On February 15th we have the opportunity to have our main meeting at the Swiss Embassy by kind invitation of Ambassador Dagmar Schmidt. We are grateful for this chance to hold the meeting at this ecologically advanced building. Please note that the Seollal holiday 9th-12th affects communications so please reply as early as possible.
Our February KBF session will look at three things, the Q4 GDP results which indicate a potential for the Korean GDP to grow faster than forecast, but the spillover effect from the export sector to the bulk of the economy will be limited.
This improvement will be too early for Korean electors to feel much difference in the elections in early April and it is time to look in depth at how the different parties are shaping up and the prospects for who will be elected and who will not. Basic information on the two major parties and a brief review of small parties and arrangements for the proportional representation vote and some thoughts about the consequences of a PPP win and of a DPK win are required.
The main substance of the discussion will then turn to the financial underpinnings of Korea Inc, national debt, household debt and corporate debt given that the majority of Korean experts named the debt issue as the major threat to the Korean economy in 2024. I do not see it as a threat but rather a brake on government policy options. While household debt gets the main focus and government debt as a ratio to GDP comes second, probably more important in the short term is corporate debt which in an age of higher interest rates limits expansion and investment.
Please come to join us on February 15th to enjoy Swiss hospitality and an excellent discussion in the KBF tradition