S. Korea, S&P begin annual consultation meetings

South Korea on Monday began annual consultation meetings with global rating appraiser Standard & Poor's Global Ratings (S&P) to discuss the country's credit valuation and economic circumstances, the finance ministry said.

The delegation, led by Kim Eng Tan, senior director of Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings at S&P, is visiting South Korea for three days of consultations through Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The delegation paid a courtesy visit on Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho on the day, which will be followed by a series of meetings with officials from the foreign and industry ministries, the Financial Service Commission, and the Bank of Korea, it added.

During a meeting, Choo said South Korea will continue to push for measures to strengthen its financial soundness, which will also be the basis for next year's budget set to be announced Tuesday,

The government is also working to pass tighter fiscal rules through the National Assembly, which call for capping the fiscal deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). If the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 60 percent, the government shall lower the deficit to 2 percent or less.

The Yoon Suk Yeol government has implemented a belt-tightening policy following years of expansionary fiscal spending due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking of inflation, Choo said South Korea has well managed prices, which have been on the decrease this year to the 2 percent range recently.

The Korean economy is forecast to recover gradually, as exports are expected to make a turnaround on the back of rising demand for semiconductors and the job market growth would help boost private consumption.

The ministry is closely working with the central bank and other relevant agencies to better respond to such external risks as the United States' monetary tightening, Choo added.

The credit appraiser has kept South Korea's long-term sovereign credit rating at "AA", the third-highest level on the company's table, with a stable outlook.

Source: Yonhap News Agency