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S. Korea's foreign exchange reserves shrink in May

All News 06:00 June 03, 2016

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign exchange reserves fell slightly from a month earlier in May due partly to a cut in the value of non U.S. dollar assets, central bank data showed Friday.

As of the end of May, the country's foreign exchange reserves came to US$370.9 billion, down $1.58 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 (IMF) reserve positions, special drawing rights and gold bullion.

The on-month drop was partly attributed to the strengthening of the U.S. greenback that led to a cut in the dollar-denomination value of non U.S.-dollar assets.

In May, one euro fetched $1.114 on average, compared with $1.1351 in the previous month, the BOK said in a press release.

The central bank does not release the ratio of dollar-denominated and non-dollar foreign assets on a monthly basis, but its earlier report said the country's dollar-denominated holdings accounted for 66.6 percent of its overall foreign exchange reserves at the end of 2015.

In May, foreign reserves held in overseas securities, including bonds, dropped by $5.91 billion from the previous month to $335.35 billion, while overseas deposits added $4.19 billion to $26.37 billion.

The country's reserve positions at the IMF shrank $10 million to $1.82 billion over the cited period.

Holdings in gold bullion remained unchanged at $4.79 billion.

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

bdk@yna.co.kr
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