The Korean won should remain stable at about 1,140 won to the U.S. dollar because of the country’s strengthening foreign exchange reserves and its improving economy, Jung-pyo Cho, Korea’s consul general, told a luncheon meeting of the Korea-Southeast U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Kotra Club in Atlanta last week.
Mr. Cho said that South Korea should continue to enjoy a trade surplus at the current exchange rate and he cited the growth of his country’s foreign exchange reserves to $91.7 billion in September, in sharp contrast to $3.9 billion in December 1997 during the Asian financial crisis.
He also said that foreign direct investment was rising, having grown to $8.9 billion dollars in 1998 and to $15 billion in 1999. He anticipates that foreign corporations will continue to invest in Korea, especially now that there are no limits for them to take their capital out of the country. Similar measures will go into effect on behalf of individuals next year, he added.
He pointed to a 4% unemployment rate in contrast to 8.6% in February of last year as an especially positive development in his country.
Concerning the impact of future investments being considered for North Korea, he said that a study would be released in the near future.
The consulate general may be reached by calling (404) 522-1611.