Moon Jae-in Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images

Can J-nomics Save South Korea’s Economy?

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has his work cut out for him. Though North Korea’s increasingly provocative behavior will likely continue to dominate headlines, the success of Moon’s presidency will hinge largely upon the success of his economic policies.

SEOUL – South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, a former human-rights lawyer representing the center-left Democratic Party, has his work cut out for him. Though North Korea’s increasingly provocative behavior will likely continue to dominate headlines, the success of Moon’s presidency will hinge largely upon his economic policies.

The good news for Moon is that both the global and South Korean economies are showing signs of recovery. Korean exports, led by semiconductors and petrochemicals, have recorded positive growth for sixth consecutive months. In April, total exports were 24% higher than a year earlier. The main stock price index has returned to its all-time high.

Of course, North Korea’s behavior, beyond its obvious security implications, has an impact on South Korea’s economy. But an easing of regional tensions – a process that could begin in meetings with US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping and possibly progress to the resumption of talks with North Korea – would lead to recovery in consumer and business sentiment.

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