Feature: U.S.-initiated trade disputes frustrate S. Korean investors

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-28 11:13:49|Editor: xuxin
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(Editor's Note: This story is part of a series, "The Butterfly Effects", on U.S.-initiated trade war.)

by Yoo Seung-ki

SEOUL, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The trade disputes between China and the United States, triggered by the latter's protectionist moves, have disappointed and hurt South Korean retail investors, who have recently suffered losses from stock investments amid the global stock market rout.

Kim Kyung-dong was one of them. He said in an interview with Xinhua that he got obsessed when looking at international news recently.

"I suffered a great loss because of the U.S.-initiated trade war. Since then, I've been searching the news on it every moment," said the South Korean, who had invested in stocks for about 15 years.

It is normal for individual investors, including Kim, to review global news every day as the global stock market is of course affected by international affairs -- what happens in one country affects another, especially in the finance sector.

Nevertheless, the routine review turned into an obsession since the United States started trade frictions with China, leading to what some call a "trade war" between the world's two largest economies.

Kim believed it was the U.S.-initiated trade disputes that caused the 10 percent loss in his stocks, but declined to reveal how much he had lost.

The South Korean, who is in his fifties, buys stocks for his retirement fund and to save for college tuition for his children.

"I have some friends and acquaintances who invest in stocks. They didn't tell me about their losses because people don't usually say it, but they must have suffered great losses like me," said Kim.

The United States in May hiked the additional tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, and threatened to levy extra duties on some 300 billion dollars' worth of Chinese products yet to be hit.

"I can't understand why the U.S. is resistant to a market principle. The U.S. should have drawn up proper policies if it suffered a trade deficit. It is unreasonable to force something," said Kim.

Kim said other ordinary South Koreans worry about the trade disputes too, which could put a damper on global trade, negatively affect the export-driven economy, and influence their daily lives in the long run.

Citing the grim outlook for exports caused by the China-U.S. trade disputes, economic think tanks lowered their growth forecasts for the South Korean economy.

The state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI) cut its 2019 growth outlook by 0.2 percentage point to 2.4 percent.

The KDI expected exports to fall 6 percent this year, a sharp downgrade from a 4.6 percent expansion estimated six months earlier.

"I feel frustrated with the trade war. Other people may feel the same though they do not openly say it," said Kim.