South Korea Top Exporters Already Hit by Weak Yen: Survey

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South Korea's leading manufacturers are seeing their exports and profits undermined by the yen's decline and want more government help to deal with the problem, a survey by their lobby group showed on Wednesday.

The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) said that a majority of respondents reported facing losses due to the yen's rapid decline. On average, the respondents said that a 10 percent decline in the yen/won rate would cause export revenue to fall by 2.4 percent and operating profit by 1.1 percent.

The federation, whose members include Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and POSCO, said 120 of 338 members responded to the survey done March 11-18 on the yen's impact.

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A federation official said most big members participated in the survey, though he declined to name companies.

South Korean companies have been complaining that the impact of yen's plunge since late 2012, thanks to efforts by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to massively increase money supply. They say Japan's policies hurt South Korean exports that compete fiercely with Japanese ones.

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Government data on Monday showed South Korean exports barely grew in the first quarter, partly as the "Abenomics"-led decline in the yen's value against most currencies has impacted Korean exporters.

The federation said 29.5 percent of respondents called for more aggressive foreign-exchange market intervention by local authorities to stem the yen's decline against the won, while 37.7 percent asked for more financial help.

The survey showed large manufacturing companies would fall below the break-even point when the yen/won rate drops below 11.85 on average, with the automobile producers found to be most sensitive to the pair's value.

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In March, the average yen/won rate - a cross-rate set by each currency's movements against the dollar - fell below that break-even level to 11.61, representing a 15 percent decline from a year earlier, central bank data shows.