The Won’s Value Has Become a Crutch on Which South Korean Leaders Can Blame All Kinds of Economic Difficulty. Time to Let It Go.
October 23, 2014
In early October, the New York Times published a story about the Obama administration’s quiet acceptance that policymakers in Europe, Japan, China and elsewhere were relying on fiscal stimulus and weak currencies to get their economies going, moves that would come at the expense of U.S. exporters selling their goods with a strong dollar.
That same week, South Korean newspapers filled with stories citing local economists and market analysts worried about the won’s weakening against the dollar.
It was a whiplash moment. Suddenly forgotten were three or so years of hand-wringing and worrisome remarks by South Korean political officials, business leaders, economists and journalists about the strengthening of the won against the dollar and the yen. Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan brought it up in media interviews as recently as the G-20 finance ministers’ meeting in Australia during the third week in September.
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