Economists have been pointing out big problems in the South Korean financial industry which is already filled by financial instruments like autocallables that are very volatile and can easily cause a financial crisis. Autocallables are fundamentally structured financial products that are very common in South Korea and are often thought of as a service. The banks offer to sell insurance on the stock market on your behalf and in return you get an income from the received premiums. The bank will tell investors the amount of return they can expect; for example one can get a 5 percent return as long as the S&P 500 does not plummet below 2000. However, there are sometimes when this doesn’t work like in February 2018 when we the VIX liquidated three times faster. A stock market crash has begun and this panic and local banks in South Korea flooded clients with margin calls. This prompted a forced liquidation of assets which are considered to be risky and this triggered a cascade of continued selling not just in South Korea but globally because the most of the assets that have collateralized the autocallables are not domestic. Because of this, any instability in the global markets prompts an autocallables sell off and if not handled well this panic sell can cause a liquidity problem resulting a major stock market crash in the global markets.
We are now experiencing this sell off scenario because the US markets have suffered the worst sell off since the black Monday stock market crash in 1987 and the South Korea’s Kopsi has already entered into a bear market. Furthermore, the Kopsi has broken bellow the 200-month average near the 1750 level which had acted as a support since the 2008 global financial crisis. This drop is so big to a point where the banks in South Korea are discussing the need for a special meeting dedicated to discuss appropriate steps they will take to stabilize the markets. If the current stock market crash continues, this might be the beginning of pain for both the institutional and retail investors because of these huge margin calls. Things will get worse when the long awaited autocallables gets liquidated and this will initiate a big liquidation wave that can rattle the global stock market resulting even in a deadlier selling avalanche. It is shocking to realize that analysts are expecting the economic growth in South Korea to be below 2 percent in this year. Because of this slowdown, the OECD and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are recommending a financial stimulus to try and boost the economy. The South Korea’s government is also under pressure to come up with more fiscal stimulus because the economic growth has dropped to record lows seen only in the 2008 economic collapse. The decline in external demand of products from South Korea because of the current decline in international trade has also worsened the economic condition. Right now the global supply chains are experiencing the biggest disruption in history and this is harming the economy. Exports have drastically dropped and as a result, the manufacturing sector has experienced a big decline. Right now the global economy is at the verge of collapsing but South Koreas seem to be ahead of everyone. The economic collapse in South Korea has already begun and right now we have hundreds of companies that are having financial trouble because of the current slowdown in exports. The financial sector in South Korea is also troubled because of the recent global stock market crash. It is very clear that the troubles being experienced in South Korea’s financial system will trigger even a bigger market crash than what has already occurred. When the autocallables selloff starts in South Korea, the stock market will be shaken further. This will cause a panic sell where investors will try to close their positions before there is a further downside move. The whole global stock market now is at a big risk of crashing further and the government must come up with aggressive measures to save the stock market because we have already entered into a bear territory.
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