South Korea's foreign currency holdings fell slightly for the first time in four months in February on a strong U.S. dollar trend, central bank data showed on Mar. 6, 2019.
The total value of the country's foreign exchange reserves came to US$404.67 billion as of end-February, down $840 million from a record $405.51 billion tallied in the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
|Bank of Korea flag at the central bank's headquarters in downtown Seoul.|
It is the first on-month drop since October when the number lost $250 million. Since then, the country's monthly FX reserves rebounded and hit new record highs for two straight months in December and January.
Foreign exchange reserves consist of securities and deposits denominated in overseas currencies, as well as International Monetary Fund reserve positions, special drawing rights and gold bullion.
The BOK said that the recent strength of the U.S. dollar decreased the value of non-dollar currencies when converted into the greenback.
In February, the U.S. dollar index rose 0.8 percent on-month against the currencies of six major economies, while the euro and Japanese yen fell 1.0 percent and 1.7 percent against the U.S. greenback, respectively.
The value of foreign securities, such as government bonds and corporate debts, amounted to $379.11 billion last month, down 1.14 billion from a month earlier.
Foreign currency-denominated deposits added $310 million on-month to $15.21 billion in February.
The country's reserve position at the IMF stood at a steady $2.18 billion at the end of last month, while holdings in gold bullion were also unchanged at $4.79 billion during the same period, the central bank said.
As of end-January, South Korea ranked eighth in the world in terms of the amount of foreign reserve holdings. China topped the list, followed by Japan, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan, according to the BOK. (Yonhap)
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