Jung Wook and Choi Mira
Six out of 10 Korean businessmen were pessimistic about economic prospects for this year whereas optimism overwhelmed for the Chinese and Japanese, a survey found.
According to a joint poll by Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper, Japan’s Nikkei (Nihon Keizai Shimbun) and China’s Global Times on 100 entrepreneurs of each country, 60 percent in Korea predicted the local economy would perform worse this year than last year. The share was 18 percent on the same question in China and 3 percent in Japan.
About 40 percent and 53 percent of Chinese and Japanese businessmen, respectively, found their economies were improving although risks remain. Such brighter view stopped at 10 percent for Koreans.
Korean businessmen were generally negative in other areas. On global economic prospects, positive response came to 41 percent for the Chinese and 62 percent for the Japanese. But negative answers reached 83 percent for Koreans.
The biggest worries in business for Koreans were exchange rate and labor cost, each at 41 percent. Chinese and Japanese businessmen were anxious about the trade war and trade protectionism.
The survey suggests Korean business sentiment has been impaired by unfavorable labor and business conditions at home.
Waseda University professor Yukiko Hukagawa pointed out the sharp minimum wage increases and cut in working hours have added woes to the Korean economy.