South Korea’s foreign exchange reserves reached a record high of above $405.5 billion in January, helped by weakening in the U.S. dollar.
According to data released by the Bank of Korea on Friday, the nation’s FX balance came to $405.51 billion as of the end of January, up $1.82 billion from the previous month. The central bank attributed the growth to the weakening greenback that led to an increase in the value of other currencies when converted into the dollar.
The total value of foreign currency holdings in Korea has gained for three months in a row.
The U.S. dollar index last month slipped 1.1 percent from a month ago to 95.34, meaning the dollar is losing value against the basket of other six currencies – the euro, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, British pound, Swedish Krona and Swiss franc.
By asset type, foreign securities including government and corporate bonds accounted for 93.8 percent of the total foreign currency holdings at $380.25 billion. Cash deposits in foreign bank accounts took up 3.7 percent at $14.9 billion, special drawing rights (SDR) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 0.8 percent at $3.39 billion and reserve position at the IMF 0.5 percent at $2.18 billion. Holdings in gold amounted to $4.79 billion, accounting for 1.2 percent.
The country ranked as the eighth biggest holder of FX reserves as of the end of December last year. China topped the list with $3.73 trillion, followed by Japan with $1.27 trillion and Swiss $786.9 billion.
The nation’s FX reserves have been on the steady rise from $363.59 billion in late 2014, $367.96 billion in 2015, $371.1 billion in 2016 and $389.27 billion in 2017.
By Lee Yu-sup and Choi Mira
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