In order to understand how Japan’s earthquake has affected businesses in neighbouring South Korea, take a look at seafood.
Exports of South Korean seaweed to Japan have soared, with many Japanese fearing that algae harvested off their own coast – a frequent ingredient in miso soup – could be contaminated by radiation seeping from the shattered Fukushima atomic power plant.
Similarly, any South Korean company that can produce a substitute for a Japanese product is in a strong position, with international banks expecting oil refiners such as SK Innovation and steelmakers such as Posco to take market share away from Japanese rivals hammered by the quake.
SK shares have soared by 17 per cent since the disaster. Stocks in Posco, which has received additional inquiries about the purchase of about 300,000 tonnes of steel from shipbuilders since the quake, have also jumped 14 per cent.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s fishmongers are nervously counting how many mackerel they had put in cold storage before the radiation started leaking from Fukushima. Many must import Norwegian mackerel, incurring higher costs, to please the growing number of shoppers refusing to buy fish caught off Japan.
Likewise, many leading South Korean companies are living on their inventories and need to look further afield for alternative suppliers. South Korea ran a $36bn trade deficit with Japan last year. Almost 70 per cent of this represented vital components and parts for industry.
“Currently, investors are gauging whether the impact of reduced competition from Japan will outweigh the supply bottlenecks of tech companies in Korea and Taiwan, which rely on Japan for a number of key components,” said Brian Kelleher, a vice-president at Citigroup.
Samsung Electronics and Hynix, the world’s biggest makers of memory chips, have said their inventories remain robust, but Hynix added it was seeking extra supplies?from?outside?Japan.
“We have asked our local and overseas suppliers to increase their shipments of components as some of our Japanese suppliers were hit by the quake,” said Park Hyun, a senior official.
2011-04-08 14:55 编辑：icetonado