Korea’s foreign reserve holdings hit record levels

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Korea’s foreign reserve holdings hit record levels

Korea’s foreign reserve holdings at the end of April reached a record-high $369.9 billion.

According to the Bank of Korea, the nation’s foreign reserve increased $7.15 billion last month, breaking July’s record total of $368 billion. The central bank said the increase was largely due to the appreciation of foreign currencies including the euro and British pound against the greenback. This raised the asset management profit when converted into dollars. The current account surplus also contributed to the increase.

Securities, which account for nearly 92 percent of the total foreign reserve, grew nearly $9 billion to $339.5 billion. Foreign currency deposits, which are the second-largest contributor at 5.7 percent, shrunk $1.8 billion to end under $21 billion. Gold bullion, the third-largest at 1.3 percent, remained unchanged at $4.79 billion.

In March, Korea’s foreign reserve holdings gained one spot in the International Monetary Fund’s world rankings, outstripping Brazil and taking sixth place with $362.8 billion.

This is the first time in five years that Korea has ranked sixth. Until 2010, Korea held the fifth and sixth spots, but has dropped to seventh or eighth since 2011.

China still tops the list with $3.73 trillion, followed by Japan’s $1.25 trillion and Saudi Arabia’s $698 billion. The oil-rich Middle Eastern country’s foreign reserve record has been included in the International Monetary Fund’s data since last year.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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