South Korea’s foreign-exchange reserves rose to a record high in December, aided by rises in the value of non-dollar assets and an increase in investment returns, the central bank said Monday.
The country’s foreign reserves totaled a record $346.46 billion as of the end of December, up $1.45 billion from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea.
Foreign reserves rose for the sixth straight month following its sharpest fall in 13 months in June.
Foreign reserves consist of securities and deposits denominated in overseas currencies, along with International Monetary Fund reserve positions, special drawing rights and gold bullion.
The BOK said that a weaker U.S. dollar boosted the dollar-exchange value of non-dollar assets, and investment profit also rose.
The euro appreciated 1.4 percent to the greenback last month while the British pound gained 0.9 percent.
The country’s growing FX reserves and current account surplus have been serving as buffers for South Korea at a time when some emerging countries are suffering from foreign capital flight and currency depreciation, triggered by speculation over U.S. stimulus tapering.
As of the end of November, South Korea was the world’s seventh-largest holder of foreign-exchange reserves.
China was at the top of the global list with $3.6 trillion in reserves, followed by Japan with $1.27 trillion, Switzerland with $531.2 billion, Russia with $515.6 billion and Taiwan with $415.6 billion. Brazil was a notch above Korea with $362.4 billion.
By Oh Kyu-wook and news reports (firstname.lastname@example.org)