The Korean economy is unlikely to climb back to pre-pandemic levels until the second quarter of 2022, despite the government's ambitious plan to achieve a return to normal during the first half of this year, according to McKinsey & Company's managing partner for Korea.
Andre Andonian, who became the new head of the global management consulting firm's Seoul office earlier this year, said in a recent press conference that there is little likelihood of a simple U-shaped recovery at this moment, so an economic recovery will take a bit longer.
"The emergence of new virus strains and the slower start of the vaccine rollout may pose additional risks," he told reporters at his company, Monday.
Last December, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the government would ensure a full economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis during the first half and would break out of the vicious cycle of a slowdown in potential growth rate.
The new head of McKinsey's Korean office came up with a gloomier scenario than that put forward by the government, but said he expects Korea to see a slightly faster economic recovery than the rest of the world, which will likely get back to normal during the third quarter of 2022.
Andonian, who led McKinsey's Japan office for five years before his transfer to Korea, also expressed concerns about the lingering trade feud between Seoul and Tokyo, which was sparked in 2019 over the Japanese government's retaliation to a Korean Supreme Court ruling ordering Japanese firms to compensate families of Korean victims of wartime forced labor.
"I'm particularly aware (of the conflict) because I am an Austrian of Armenian origin, and basically there was a genocide in the First World War, so therefore I understand all the emotions there," he said. "My hope is that there will be a resolution soon since both countries are dependent on trade and both countries now have to capture the opportunity of post-COVID to position themselves as leading countries in the post-COVID world. Any of those is actually damaging both countries."
By Park Jae-hyuk
Source: The Korea Times
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