According to the Bank of Korea, South Korea’s foreign exchange reserves totaled US$378.46 billion as of the end of last month, showing a month-on-month increase of US$1.89 billion. Its forex reserves increased for the third consecutive month and reached the highest level since September 2016, when the amount had been US$377.77 billion.
Last month, the central bank succeeded in increasing the revenue from its foreign currency-denominated assets while the U.S. dollar depreciated to result in an increase in the value of its foreign currency assets converted to the U.S. dollar and the increase in the reserves. During the same period, the U.S. dollar and the British pound depreciated unlike the other major currencies. For instance, euro and yen appreciated by 2.8% and 0.4% with respect to the USD, respectively. The USD Index, which shows the value of the USD in comparison to six major currencies, fell 2.1% from 99.1 to 96.9 during the period.
Marketable securities such as government and government agency bonds and asset-backed securities accounted for 92.1% of the total forex reserves, increasing by US$10.94 billion from a month ago, while deposits in foreign central banks and major global banks fell US$9.11 billion to US$18.66 billion. The SDR edged up by US$3 million to US$2.98 billion and the IMF position also edged up by US$2 million to US$1.76 billion. The gold reserves remained at US$4.79 billion.
As of the end of last month, South Korea ranked eighth in the world in terms of the size of foreign exchange reserves. China (up US$20.4 billion to US$3.0295 trillion) topped the list, followed by Japan (US$1.2423 trillion), Switzerland (US$750.2 billion), Saudi Arabia (US$500.2 billion), Taiwan (US$438.4 billion), Russia (US$401 billion) and Hong Kong (US$400.1 billion).