Conglomerates expect exports to fall

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Conglomerates expect exports to fall

Korean conglomerates expect exports to worsen next year mainly due to euro zone debt woes and a continued U.S. economic slowdown, a poll showed yesterday.

The Federation of Korean Industries survey showed that of 22 major businesses polled, 15, or 68.2 percent, expected next year’s export environment to be less favorable than that of 2011.

The data also showed that 63.6 percent of the conglomerates, including Samsung, Hyundai Motor Co., LG and SK, are bracing for financing-related difficulties next year.

“Of the companies polled, 81 percent think outbound shipments to Europe will take a hit, while 43 percent think overall export conditions to the United States will deteriorate,” the FKI said.

The lobbying group of large businesses added that the conglomerates expect to see sluggish growth in advanced industrialized economies, which will exert a negative influence on Korea’s export drive.

Korea became the ninth country to surpass an annual trade volume of $1 trillion this year, with export growth in the first 11 months of this year reaching 20.5 percent.

For 2012, local think tanks such as the Korea Development Institute, the Korea Institute of Finance and the Samsung Economic Research Institute predict export growth will fall to between 7 percent and 10 percent.

The FKI survey, however, showed that despite the negative conditions, 82 percent of the large companies plan to maintain or expand their investments in 2012.

Such moves could bolster the domestic economy and lay a foundation for future growth.

Asked about Korea’s growth forecast for next year, 86 percent of the business groups expected to see it enlarge by between 3 percent and 4 percent, while 59 percent predicted a fall in domestic consumption compared to 2011.

About half of the businesses said the construction sector may experience a modest contraction, although 46 percent predicted no change from this year.


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