S.Korea to double stock price movement limit, boost service sector

SEJONG, South Korea Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:20pm EDT

SEJONG, South Korea Aug 12 (Reuters) - South Korea will double the daily price movement limit on stocks listed on the main board for the first time in nearly 16 years, in new measures the government unveiled on Tuesday to boost service businesses.

Each stock listed on the Korea Exchange will be allowed to rise or fall by up to 30 percent from its previous closing price, compared with 15 percent at present, the government said in a joint statement from six ministries and one agency.

Officials at the Financial Services Commission, which is mainly in charge of changing the limit, said the timing would be confirmed as soon as possible after further discussions with academics and market participants.

The government said it hopes this and other measures unveiled on Tuesday will lift the contribution from the financial sector to 8.0 percent of the national total in 2017, from 6.7 percent recorded in 2012.

It would be the first change of the price movement limit since late 1998, when it was expanded from 12 percent during the height of a financial crisis, to make financial markets more capable of reflecting changing conditions.

In addition to the financial sector, the government also selected six business areas for especially strong support - health and medical, tourism and cultural content, education, logistics and software.

The new measures follow economic stimulus policy plans the government introduced late last month to jumpstart faltering domestic demand, including $11 billion in additional public spending and an easing of mortgage rules.

Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan, who took office less than a month ago, has spearheaded an economic revival campaign to prevent what is feared could become a severe slump similar to Japan's two decades of deflation.

The finance ministry expects South Korea's economic growth to accelerate to 3.7 percent this year from 3.0 percent last year but is worried that downside severe risks remain while domestic demand is shrinking.

The government said the new measures announced on Tuesday would result in about 15 trillion won ($14.6 billion) of investment flowing into domestic industries and the creation of about 180,000 jobs over the next three years.

The plans announced on Tuesday are anticipated to bring about investment of 15 trillion won and create roughly 180,000 jobs in the next three years, the finance ministry said in a statement.

(1 US dollar = 1,030.3000 Korean won) (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Choonsik Yoo and Eric Meijer)

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