One of the key elements of our forecast for 2016 relates to how countries dependent on the export of industrial products will respond to China’s slowing growth. In that forecast, we identify South Korea as a country substantially at risk, in no small part due to the fact that China is South Korea’s biggest trading partner, with over 25 percent of exports going to China and over 17 percent of imports coming from the country. Though the precipitous decline in South Korean exports indicates economic trouble for Seoul, there are worrying signs of political instability and stalemate that concern us even more.
Three developments tied to South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s office have popped up on our radar screen this week. On Dec. 15, a senior presidential secretary made a request to the speaker of South Korea’s National Assembly Chung Ui-hwa to invoke his authority as speaker to bypass the normal legislative process and bring a set of labor reform bills to a vote on the floo