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Foreign reserves hit record as the dollar weakens

While money was lost on securities, value of currency deposits rose
Nov 06,2019
Foreign exchange reserves hit a record last month as the dollar weakened, according to data from the central bank.

The Bank of Korea said foreign currency reserves were $406.32 billion in October, up $3 billion from the previous month, as the weak dollar boosted the value of assets held in other currencies. In January, reserves were $405.51 billion, the previous record.

“The increase was attributed to an expansion in the profit of foreign assets under management and the weak dollar pushing up the value of assets denominated in non-dollar currencies,” the bank said in a statement.

The growth of foreign reserves was slow until September due primarily to the strong dollar.

In July, the value of foreign-denominated securities, which account for more than 92 percent of foreign exchange reserves, declined, while the value of foreign currency deposits increased.

The value of the securities declined $700 million to $373.8 billion from the previous month. Foreign currency accounts, which are 5.3 percent of the foreign reserves, increased $3.66 billion in value to $21.68 billion.

The country’s reserve position at the IMF grew $30 million compared to the previous month to hit $2.67 billion.

Gold bullion holdings remained unchanged at $4.79 billion during the same period, the statement said.

Korea was the world’s ninth-largest holder of foreign exchange reserves as of the end of July, after China, Japan, Switzerland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India.

In September, the growth was moderate as foreign reserves totaled $403.32 billion, up $1.84 billion from a month earlier.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]