Thursday, February 5, 2015
Effects of low oil prices on South Korea.
South Korea is the world's fifth-largest oil importer, just after Germany, and imports virtually all the oil it uses. The dramatic fall in oil prices to around 50 dollars per barrel will give a timely boost to the country's economy, which weakened in the final quarter of 2014 with growth of just 0.4%, the slowest in two years. Annual growth in 2014 of 3.3% improved upon 2013's 3.0%, but fell short of the finance ministry's 3.8% forecast.
- Improved economic performance will reduce dependence on the chaebol and strengthen the government's hand in structural reform efforts.
- A sustained period of low oil prices may lead to monetary policy remaining overly accommodative for too long.
- Export-dependent South Korea still relies on developed-world demand -- something low oil prices may help to revive.
- With the won weak, lower production costs will allow exporters to cut prices to compete overseas.