China and South Korea: From Emerging to Emerged

Includes: EWY, FXI, KB, PGJ, SHG
by: Andrew Corn

There has been a lot of press and buzz this year first announcing, then explaining to the world that several countries are graduating from Emerging to Emerged. The exact definition differs between economists and analysts. One measure is for an economy to move from being predominantly based on exports to an economy that includes internal consumption. I wrote earlier this week about China, and now about South Korea. China is proving itself as a fast moving global player, and South Korea is boarding that same bus. Best known for exports, its domestic economy is once again showing its strength. I am sharing an article originally posted on Reuters.

Sales at South Korea's top three department stores in October grew at the fastest pace in 14 months, data showed on Tuesday, adding to evidence of a sustained recovery in domestic demand.

Combined sales at Lotte Shopping Co Ltd, Shinsegae Co Ltd and Hyundai Department Store Co Ltd soared 11.4 percent in October over a year ago, posting the biggest gain since a 14 percent jump in August 2008 and compared to an 8.6 percent rise in September, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement.

This news underscores that the country along with the region is growing. Smart, swift financially capable US firms are paying close attention to where consumers are spending and desire for goods and services can increase. They are seeking joint ventures and basing new operations in these faster growing areas. My firm also follows the growth seeking public companies in which to invest. Our strategies include local financial powerhouse KB Financial Group (NYSE: KB) and the more global Shinhan Financial Group (NYSE: SHG) both based in South Korea and trade on the NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX). SHG has operations in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Germany, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, and Singapore. The fast recovering and moving countries are growing in GDP and aiding the recovery not just within their own boarders, but elsewhere, including the US.

As I like to say: follow the growth, better yet, follow and invest in the firms who are already executing where there is growth in our global economy.

Disclosure: Mr. Corn is Chief Investment Officer – Equities of Beacon Trust Company. Through various equity strategies under his supervision he is currently long (KB) and (SHG).