UPDATE : 2019.12.12 THU 17:52
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S. Korea to appoint civilian expert as external finance ambassador

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- The Finance Ministry said Thursday it will soon appoint a civilian financial expert as an external financial cooperation ambassador amid growing uncertainties over rising protectionism, a trade row with China and expected U.S rate hikes.

"We are currently verifying those recommended by relevant government agencies," said Jin Seung-ho, a senior official of the ministry. "A decision will be made in February."

The soon-to-be-appointed ambassador will likely serve for one year, tasked with assisting the finance minister in establishing overseas networks, collecting economic information from abroad and promoting South Korea's economic policies at international forums, Jin said.

In another measure to cope with any contingencies outlined in the ministry's external economic policy plans for this year, South Korea aims to raise the ratio of the pool money under the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) that can be drawn out by member countries without consultations with the International Monetary Fund to 40 percent from the current 30 percent of the total US$240 billion.

The CMIM was launched by Asian countries in 2010 as they agreed to set aside $120 billion that can be tapped by members in case of contingencies.

South Korea is the chair of the annual meeting of financial ministers of South Korea, China and Japan this year, and will preside over the annual ASEAN Plus Three Summit next year together with Singapore.

The ministry will also require commercial banks to maintain the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) at a minimum 60 percent this year, and raise the ratio to 70 percent in 2018 and 80 percent in 2019.

The LCR is a buffer against a liquidity crisis from sudden capital outflows by forcing banks to hold a certain amount of foreign currencies.

South Korea suffered from foreign currency shortages during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s and the global economic turmoil in 2008.

Park So-yeon  edt@koreapost.com

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