Foreign currency reserves decline from recordKorea’s foreign currency holdings fell for the first time in four months in February on a strong dollar trend, central bank data showed Wednesday.
The total value of the country’s foreign currency reserves came to $404.67 billion as of February’s end, down $840 million from a record $405.51 billion tallied in the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea.
It is the first on-month drop since October, when the number fell $250 million. Since then, the country’s monthly foreign currency reserves rebounded and hit new record highs for two consecutive months, in December and January.
Foreign currency reserves are securities and deposits denominated in foreign currencies, as well as International Monetary Fund (IMF) reserve positions, special drawing rights and gold bullion.
The central bank said the recent strength of the dollar decreased the dollar-dominated value of some reserves.
In February, the dollar index rose 0.8 percent month on month against the currencies of six major economies, while the euro and the Japanese yen fell 1.0 percent and 1.7 percent against the dollar, respectively.
The value of foreign securities, such as government bonds and corporate debt, totaled $379.11 billion last month, down 1.14 billion from a month earlier.
Foreign currency-denominated deposits increased $310 million month on month to $15.21 billion in February.
The country’s reserve position at the IMF stood steady at $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, 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 central bank.