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Finance minister dismisses talk of ‘April crisis’

South Korea's finance minister said Friday that the country is fully prepared to deal with the possibility of an economic crisis in the coming months amid rising concerns over debt-ridden firms and currency volatility.

"Some say we may fall into a crisis in April, but such concerns are excessive," Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said in a minister-level meeting in Seoul. "There is low possibility of the crisis taking place, and we are strong enough to deal with it."

South Korea's Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho speaks at a conference in Seoul on Feb. 20, 2017. (Yonhap)
South Korea's Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho speaks at a conference in Seoul on Feb. 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

He said South Korea has strong fundamentals to go through the possible crisis, citing that global rating agency Moody's held South Korea's sovereign credit steady at the second-highest level recently.

His comments came as some media reports cautioned that Asia's fourth-largest economy may fall into trouble in April.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., a major shipyard here, has 440 billion won ($383 million) in debt due in April, and there are concerns that the shipbuilder will hardly afford to pay the debt amid the dearth of new orders and a delay in the delivery of drill ships.

Also, the US government is expected to unveil a list of currency manipulators in April, which may include South Korea, along with China.

South Korea was put on a monitoring list by the US Treasury Department last year due to bilateral trade surplus with the United States.

The country posted $23.3 billion in a trade surplus with the US last year, accounting for 26 percent of the country's total trade surplus.

The top economic policymaker said he will seek closer policy coordination with the US government to iron out any misunderstandings on trade and economic policies. (Yonhap)

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