NK risks-market monitoring

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is prepared to take "strong" action to stabilize the financial market amid worries that ever-intensifying war threats by North Korea could spread fears in the market, a senior economic policymaker said Friday.

In an emergency meeting held to gauge the impact of the North Korea risks, Vice Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said that the government will run its monitoring system around the clock and take necessary steps tailored to each possible situation.

"If North Korea risks deepen, we will run our round-the-clock market monitoring system and take strong measures to stabilize the market in accordance with contingency plans tailored to each possible situation," Choo told the meeting with other senior officials.

"Unlike the past when North Korea risks had little impact or, if any, they were short-lived, the latest provocation is intensifying and raising concerns that it will not end that way this time around," he said. "We need to closely monitor the market."

The meeting comes as tensions are escalating on the Korean Peninsula amid almost daily war threats by the North, which have caused South Korea's financial markets to lose ground sharply in recent trading.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 1,959.45 on Thursday, down 1.2 percent from the previous day's close, with the local currency ending at 1,123.8 won, down 6.3 won from the previous day.

Choo said the impact of the North's provocations seem to be expanding in the financial market, citing the recent setbacks in the stock and currency markets. But he said that there are no signs that the heightened tensions are affecting the country's exports and other macroeconomic conditions.

In order to prevent unwarranted fears from spreading, he also noted that the government would provide "accurate" information on the Korean economy to foreign investors and major credit appraisers.

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