Dollar bank deposits hit 7-month high on weakness

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Dollar bank deposits hit 7-month high on weakness

Foreign currency deposits at Korean banks rose at the fastest pace in 12 months in November as people increased holdings of dollars, central bank data showed Friday.

The balance of foreign currency deposits held by local lenders reached $75.05 billion at the end of last month, up $6.94 billion from a month earlier, according to the data by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The month-on-month gain marked the largest since November last year, when foreign savings rose $7.13 billion from the previous month.

Foreign currency deposits include those held by foreigners who have stayed in Korea for more than six months, as well as by foreign companies operating here.

The BOK said people refrained from selling the dollar amid a weakening in the currency. The won-dollar rate was 1,121.2 won on Nov. 30, compared with 1,139.6 won on Oct. 31.

As a result, deposits in dollars expanded $5.93 billion to a seven-month high of $62.79 billion in November, with yen-denominated savings edging up $570 million to $5.27 billion.

Overall, dollars accounted for 83.7 percent of all foreign currency deposits at local banks last month, followed by yen deposits at 7 percent and euro savings at 4.9 percent.

Companies held $60.7 billion in foreign currency deposits last month, up $6.08 billion from a month earlier, while deposits held by individuals rose $860 million to $14.35 billion.

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