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S. Korea's foreign reserves down for 4th month in Feb.

All Headlines 06:00 March 04, 2016

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign exchange reserves dwindled for the fourth consecutive month in February due partly to a cut in the value of non-U.S. dollar assets such as the euro and British pound, the central bank said Friday.

The country's foreign exchange reserves stood at US$365.76 billion at the end of last month, down $1.54 billion from the previous month according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Foreign exchange reserves consist of securities and deposits denominated in overseas currencies, as well as International Monetary Fund reserve positions, special drawing rights and gold bullion.

The drop "was due to the devaluation of euro and British pound-denominated assets in terms of U.S. dollars caused by the weakening of those currencies," the central bank said in a press release.

In February, the British pound was traded at an average $1.38 per pound, down 3.5 percent from $1.43 the previous month, the BOK added.

Of the total, foreign reserves held in overseas securities, including bonds, came to $336.5 billion as of end-February, up 1 percent or $110 million from a month earlier.

Overseas deposits, on the other hand, plunged 12.2 percent on-month to $20.25 billion, with those held in special drawing rights also shedding 8.8 percent to $2.35 billion.

The BOK's holdings of gold bullion remained unchanged at $4.79 billion last month.

Meanwhile, the central bank said the country was the world's seventh-largest holder of foreign exchange reserves as of end-January, trailing China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Taiwan and Russia, in that order.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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