Economists, Gov't Clash over Direction of Economic Policy

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), May 7, 1999 | Go to article overview

Economists, Gov't Clash over Direction of Economic Policy


Economists and the government are once again at odds over economic and financial policies involving interest rates, stock prices and foreign exchange even as economic conditions continue to show signs of an upturn.

According to economic experts at private research institutes, government policies are inconsistent and too short-term oriented rather than being in the mid- to long-term range as is required under the circumstances.

The current circumstances include falling interest rates and a``bloated'' stock market which has been soaring to new heights in recent months despite the lack of improvements in the object economy.

``What we are seeing now could very easily be interpreted as a bubble since the economy appears to be doing well even though the basics are not in place, particularly public consumption,'' one economist said.

The government begs to differ. As it sees the conditions, there is nothing artificial about the increase in stock prices and the fall in interest rates and it recently said it is not willing to continue with its previous policy of further lowering interest rates.

The question over interest rates is important since lower interest rates mean that investors will not want to keep their money in bank accounts, instead preferring to invest in the stock market or in real estate.

``What private research institutes are saying is that the falling interest rates are causing both institutional and individual investors to flock to the stock and real estate markets, thus causing it to boil over,'' one industry analyst said. …

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