The Bank of Korea announced on May 17 that the daily average foreign currency transaction amount of South Korean banks and foreign banks’ branches in South Korea totaled US$49.98 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 11.9% from the previous quarter and down 5.7% from a year ago. The daily average amount had hit an all-time high of US$52.99 billion in the first quarter of last year.
According to the Bank of Korea, the volume of foreign currency transactions tends to increase in the first quarter and decrease in the fourth quarter because of settlement of accounts by investors and so on.
From January to March this year, spot exchange transactions accounted for US$19.41 billion out of the daily average, up 11.8% from the preceding quarter. Transactions of foreign currency derivatives increased 12% to US$30.58 billion.
Among the derivatives, foreign currency swap transactions showed an increase of 10.8% to reach US$19.18 billion. This type of transactions, which means exchange between different currencies, is made as a preparation against an increase in currency volatility. The central bank of South Korea explained that it increased because of an increase in overseas transactions attributable to overseas securities transactions and non-deliverable forward (NDF) transactions.