The Bank of Korea announced on Sept. 3 that Korea’s foreign exchange reserves declined from US$370.82 billion to US$367.94 billion between July and Aug. this year. The amount began to increase every month in Feb., reached an all-time high of US$374.75 billion in June, and then showed a downturn in July.
The decrease is because of a drop in the U.S. dollar-converted amount of other currency assets, based on the recent appreciation of the U.S. dollar, attributable to expectations for an interest rate hike by the Fed. Last month, GBP was devalued by 1.2 percent vis-à-vis the USD, and the AUD lost 2.1 percent of its value as well.
By asset type, marketable securities such as government bonds, government agency bonds, corporate bonds and asset-backed securities totaled US$336.11 billion, with a month-on-month decrease of US$1.12 billion. Deposits such as savings decreased US$1.86 billion to US$22.04 billion. The IMF SDR edged up by US$30 million to US$3.48 billion, and the IMF position increased by US$60 million to US$1.51 billion. The central bank’s gold reserves showed no change at US$4.79 billion in book value.
At the end of July this year, Korea ranked sixth in the world when it comes to the amount of foreign exchange reserves. China was at the top with US$3.6513 trillion, followed by Japan (US$1.2423 trillion), Saudi Arabia (US$668.7 billion), Switzerland (US$599 billion), and Taiwan (US$422 billion).