Asia’s Broadest Stocks Recovery Is Taking Hold in Korea
(Bloomberg) -- South Korea is not only one of the markets that’s recovering the fastest from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s also showing one of the broadest rebounds.
The benchmark Kospi index has almost 35% of its members trading above their 200-day moving average, returning to levels last seen in mid-February, just before an explosion of virus cases in the country. That’s ahead of the 30% of stocks trending higher in the wider MSCI Asia Pacific Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Kospi has rallied about 33% from a decade low in March, with only seven of its almost 800 members posting a decline in that time. The index is also one of the top performers among major equity markets in Asia and well ahead of the regional benchmark’s 20% rally since its low. The South Korean index climbed 0.6% Monday.
The market breadth of South Korea’s rally is especially evident given its largest member, Samsung Electronics Co., has risen only 15% from its March trough. The coronavirus crisis has been a net negative for global chipmakers, hampered by lower consumer demand for new PCs and smartphones despite greater interest in online services amid the lockdowns.
There may be even more room to run for South Korean equities as President Moon Jae-in pushes through significant fiscal spending plans to jump start the economy. And given the country’s strong record of fiscal management, it is in a position to get very aggressive on this front, Justin Jimenez, an economist with Bloomberg Economics, wrote in a report Monday.
In a base case, Bloomberg Economics estimates South Korea’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio would rise to about 44% this year and 46% in the next, up from 37% in 2019, according to government figures. Even in a more dire situation where additional fiscal support is needed, pushing the ratio to 50% of GDP by 2021, that would still be well below the G-20 average of 84% last year, Jimenez said.
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