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Korean companies see exports rising through slump

But local economic conditions will remain bad into 2001

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Korea's electronics industry will slowly dig itself out of the mire next year, against a background of continued domestic slump, says the Electronics Industry of Korea. The EIA says exports will grow 8.2 per cent in 1999, although the Korean economy itself isn't expected to start turning around until the middle of the year. Exports will hit $41.6 billion, with industrial electronic appliances reaching $10.4 billion on the back of increased PCS and telecoms equipment exports. The local economic squeeze, however, means that investment in the industry won't be significant, and Korean companies will therefore have to tackle an investment backlog as and when the turnaround comes. The EIA, which bases its data on a survey of 120 companies, says complete recovery won't happen until beyond 2000. But despite the gloom, a certain Korean optimism remains -- the companies reckon it'll take another two or three years to get back to the average annual growth rate of 15.1 per cent Korea was running at until recently. ®

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