A government-led task force plans to seek close coordination with global rating agencies in a bid to prevent Korea’s credit status from being downgraded in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test.
The task force is drawing up contingency plans to effectively weather the North’s provocation and held an emergency meeting early on Wednesday.
The task force is composed of senior officials from the Finance Ministry, the Financial Services Commission, the Financial Supervisory Service and the Bank of Korea.
“To block negative effects on the nation’s sovereign rating, we will inform credit rating firms of details on the North’s movements and the South’s countermeasures in a prompt and accurate manner,” the task force said in a statement.
The ratings firms include the top three players ― Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch.
Public officials said they would also engage in active exchanges of financial information with three countries ― the United States, China and Japan.
“To placate overseas investors, it is also necessary for the government to enhance collaboration with global organizations including the International Monetary Fund,” said the statement.
Citing financial indices and assessments by global investment banks, the officials said the nuclear test had little impact on the South Korean market.
According to the Korea Center for International Finance, the “index for credit risk” of South Korea, China and Japan simultaneously dropped on Feb. 12, despite North Korea’s action earlier in the day.
South Korea saw its “credit default swap premium” fall to 67.5 basis points on Feb .12 from 69 basis points a day earlier.
Further, CDS premium, a barometer for sovereign risk, held by Seoul marked lowered than that of Japan (72.7 basis points on Feb 12).
On Wednesday, the main stock price index KOSPI gained 30.28 points, or 1.56 percent, from a trading session before to close at 1,976.07 points.
“Foreigners were active net buyers of local shares,” the Korea Exchange said.
The Korean won gained against the U.S. dollar for the second consecutive trading session to close at 1,086.8 won per dollar.
An analyst at Korea Investment & Securities said that North Korea’s nuclear test was expected, and like the previous two nuclear tests, shocks on South Korean stocks and currency would be “extremely ephemeral.”
Morgan Stanley has noted that South Korea was no longer exposed to geopolitical risks from North Korea.
“There is no reason to give this any special meaning given that geopolitical factors (concerning North Korea) have already been reflected on South Korea,” said Kang Hyun-cheol, strategist at Woori Investment & Securities.
By Kim Yon-se (email@example.com