The operating income growth of major South Korean listed companies is expected to slow down next year because of unfavorable global economic circumstances and an expected slump in the semiconductor industry, a market tracker said Tuesday.
The combined operating profit of 179 companies listed on the country's stock market is estimated to reach 203.19 trillion won (US$180 billion) in 2019, just 1.7 percent up from this year, according to FnGuide.
Next year's estimate is sharply lower than this year's projected 11.1 percent rise in their operating income.
The companies' total net profits are projected to increase 2.8 percent next year to 153.85 trillion won, with combined sales to advance 4.6 percent on-year to 2,041.62 trillion won, FnGuide's data showed.
This year, their net profit and sales are expected to surge 10.1 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively.
The tally covers companies for which more than three securities companies have presented earnings outlooks for the coming year.
Of the 179 firms, 67.6 percent are predicted to see a lower growth rate for their 2019 earnings than those for this year, FnGuide said, noting that some major firms could even post negative earnings growth in the coming year.
The operating income of tech behemoth Samsung Electronics Co. is projected to tumble 13.7 percent on-year to 54.94 trillion won in 2019. If that is the case, the tech giant will register negative growth in its operating income for the first time since 2014.
Major chipmaker SK hynix Co. is forecast suffer a 14.1 percent on-year fall in its operating profit next year on a projected fall in memory chip prices, according to the forecasts.
"Uncertainties over the trade talks between the U.S. and China, as well as signs of a global economic slowdown, could cast a pall over South Korean exports," said Moon Jeong-hee, an expert at KB Securities Co., also pointing to a "not-so-bright outlook for domestic demand." (yonhap)