The title chosen for the last session of 2022 sounded rather bland. However it is important to discuss how Korea has evolved in 12 months as a springboard for the discussion of 2023. 2022 has been a year of geopolitical and geoeconomic headlines and of domestic policy changes and of hidden movements in the economy.
- War in Ukraine
- Slowdown in China
- Fed’s approach to fighting inflation
- US protectionist measures against China ( adversely affecting Korea)
- Post election shift in government from Moon to anything but Moon and technocrats being replaced by ex Prosecutors
- Shift in government financing
- Household debt
- Frozen real estate market
- Near frozen finance market from October
In the process the Korea of January 2022 we were living in has changed sometimes obviously and sometime subtly and the December session was trying to reflect on this. The presentation showed a critical inflection point in May 2022, when various economic indicators turned downwards. As best as we can tell this was only tangentially connected with the new administration entering office rather than the central cause. The day after our presentation President Yoon held a televised townhall talking up the successes of the year and announcing the three reform thrusts for 2023, health, labour and pensions.
To help us on one point we were joined by Kang Min-joo from ING bank to explain her distinguished work on household debt, this much talked of topic which we have not covered for a while which was much appreciated. 2022 ends with some interesting developments – November data gives some suggestion of Q4, China opening will change the equation for the future even if in the short term the headlines are taken by the explosion of Covid after formally abandoning lock down.
If you missed the session, I hope as many of you will join us to help us understand how the Korea of January 2023 has changed from the Korea of January 2022 and what this means for our business going forward in the new year. Our regular meeting will be on January 19th and assess the wide range of variables that affect the prospects for 2023.
Tony Michell Ph.D
Managing Director, KABC Ltd.