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S. Korea’s forex reserves hit record high in Jan.


South Korea’s foreign exchange reserves surged to a record high of $409.6 billion in January, surpassing its previous record from December, the nation’s central bank data showed Wednesday.

The increase in reserves came despite a strong US dollar trend, which weakened the dollar value of other foreign currencies held by Korea, the Bank of Korea said.

But a rise in profits and investment returns of other foreign assets under the country’s management contributed to the latest surge, it added.

As of the end of last month, the country’s foreign reserves increased by $840 million from December, marking growth for the fourth consecutive month.

Foreign exchange reserves are formed of foreign securities, deposits denominated in foreign currencies, special drawing rights, gold bullion and the International Monetary Fund’s reserve position.

By types of foreign reserves, securities, including government bonds and corporate debts, declined by $6.5 billion on-month to $378.4 billion.

On the other hand, deposits held in foreign currencies increased by $7.4 billion to $20.1 billion in the same period.

Special drawing rights, which operates as a supplement to existing money reserves of International Monetary Fund member nations, came to $3.3 billion, down $20 million on-month. The nation’s reserve position in the IMF came to $2.8 billion, down $10 million in the cited period.

Its gold holdings remained flat at $4.8 billion.

Korea ranked No. 9 among global economies in terms of the size of foreign reserves, the BOK said. China ranked No. 1 with $3.1 trillion, and Japan trailed behind with $1.3 trillion. Swiss ranked No. 3 with $854.8 billion.

By Jung Min-kyung (