Ferry Disaster Hits Economy as Consumption Shrinks

Domestic consumption has shrunk in the wake of the national tragedy where a ferry sank in waters off Jindo, South Jeolla Province last Wednesday. The Sewol was carrying 476 people when it began to list. As of Wednesday morning, more than 120 were confirmed dead and some 170 still missing.

The hit to the economy is clearly reflected in the declining volume of credit card transactions in recent days.

According to the credit card industry on Tuesday, daily transactions for the five days following the ferry accident fell by between 3.7 percent and 8.8 percent from the previous week as the government, businesses and individuals reigned in their expenditures.

A candlelight vigil for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster forms the word A candlelight vigil for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster forms the word "sorry" in Korean on Monday.

Some of the country's biggest companies such as Samsung, LG and Lotte advised their executives and staff to refrain from excessive drinking or attending external meetings. Many have also postponed or canceled pre-arranged engagements.

Service companies have also curtailed aggressive sales campaigns and events. Some have suspended TV advertisements out of respect for the bereaved families and victims of the disaster.

An official from CJ Group said, "Many of our affiliated companies produce food and beverages and the theme of their advertisements tend to evolve around harmonious families or happy couples. We are conscious that this could be seen as insensitive to relatives of the victims of the Sewol so we decided to stop running our commercials for the time being."

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 23, 2014 09:53 KST