According to the Bank of Korea, South Korea’s foreign exchange reserves totaled US$384.67 billion as of the end of last month, showing a month-on-month decrease of US$170 million. Its forex reserves decreased for the first time in seven months.
“Although foreign exchange rate factors caused the foreign exchange reserves to slightly fall last month, the amount of the reserves is still the second-largest in history,” the central bank explained. The amount increased for six months in a row until August and increased by US$13.57 billion this year.
Last month, the U.S. dollar appreciated and the value of the central bank’s non-dollar assets converted to the U.S. dollar decreased to result in the decline in forex reserves.
During the same period, the euro and yen depreciated by 1% and 1.8% with respect to the US dollar, respectively. The USD Index, which shows the value of the USD in comparison to six major currencies, rose 0.4% from 92.7 to 93.1. This has to do with last month’s FOMC meeting, at which the Fed officially announced that it would reduce its assets and signaled an additional interest rate hike in December this year.
Marketable securities such as government and government agency bonds and asset-backed securities decreased by US$900 million from the end of August and reached US$353.3 billion while deposits in foreign central banks and major global banks rose by US$760 million to US$21.53 billion. The SDR edged down by US$20 million to US$3.3 billion, the IMF position edged up by US$10 million to US$1.74 billion, and the gold reserves remained at US$4.79 billion.
As of the end of August this year, South Korea ranked ninth in the world in terms of size of foreign exchange reserves. China (up US$10.8 billion in a month to US$3.0915 trillion) topped the list, followed by Japan (US$1.268 trillion), Switzerland (US$791.7 billion), Saudi Arabia (US$487.6 billion), Taiwan (US$446.4 billion), Russia (US$424 billion), Hong Kong (US$413.8 billion), and India (US$397.8 billion).