Sunday, November 1, 2009
Swine flu could slash South Korean GDP by 5.6 percent
As ROK authorities plan to raise the H1N1 alert to its highest level, Yonhap is reporting on a KERI (Korea Economic Research Institute) study that says an H1N1 influenza pandemic in South Korea could strike a blow to tourism and service industries that rely on people freely moving about, and this could slash GDP by 5.6%.
Only forty people in South Korea have died from so-called "swine flu" so far, so such talk may seem premature or even paranoid, unless you consider the economic impact of highly publicized pandemics like so-called avian influenza or SARS (whose mortality rate for under-25s wasn't all that different from H1N1 in the US).
In South Korea this would mean people staying away from restaurants, hagwons, even work, and foregoing travel and other things that add value to the economy. It certainly could mean a W-shaped recovery. Or worse, it could be an и-shaped recovery, which is no recovery at all.