SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- Foreign currency deposits at banks in South Korea posted the biggest gain in 16 months in March on corporate preference for dollars amid the coronavirus crisis, data showed Monday.
Outstanding foreign currency deposits at banks here reached US$75.29 billion as of end-March, up $6.78 billion from a month before, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
It marks the largest on-month increase since the $6.94 billion rise recorded in November 2018.
The figure covers deposits held by South Koreans, foreigners who have stayed in South Korea for more than six months and foreign companies operating here.
The BOK said the March surge came as companies rushed to secure dollars amid concerns over a global recession due to the coronavirus pandemic and escalating market volatility.
Foreign currency deposits held by local companies climbed by $6.51 billion to $59.35 billion as of end-March, with individuals' savings growing by $270 million to $15.94 billion.
U.S. dollar savings jumped by $5.92 billion to $64.46 billion, and those in the euro expanded by $550 million to $3.65 billion.
Foreign currency deposits at South Korean banks rose by $6.65 billion to $64.29 billion, with savings at foreign bank branches jumping $130 million to $11 billion, according to the data.
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