South Korea sold $187 million worth of foreign currencies during the second half of last year in an effort to stabilize the market, the central bank said Friday.
The Bank of Korea posted the related information on its website, explaining that the transactions were made in response to sudden fluctuations that could negatively effect the economy.
The Korean won remained in the 1,000-1,150 won range against the US dollar during the given six months, data showed.
In May last year, the government announced that it will disclose the half-yearly statement of its foreign exchange market operations. The accounts for this year’s first half will be announced in September, after which the central bank will make the announcements on a quarterly basis, according to BOK officials.
The International Monetary Fund, along with the United States, had pressured Seoul to reveal its market intervention records, suspecting the government of exercising excessive influence on exchange rates for the sake of the nation’s exports.
Washington also placed Seoul on its currency manipulator monitoring list, claiming that it meets two out of three conditions – an annual trade surplus of more than $20 billion with the US, a current account surplus exceeding 3 percent of the country’s GDP, and the government’s consistent intervention in foreign currency worth 2 percent of the GDP for at least a year.
BOK’s figures released today, however, show interference of far less than 2 percent of Korea’s GDP of over $1 billion, lowering the possibilities of Korea being designated as a currency manipulator.
Instead, they suggest Seoul interfered in a way to supply dollars to the market.
“The FX market was very stable last year,” a BOK official said. “The authorities have interfered only within a limited extent.”
The US Treasury Department is slated to reveal its own report next month.
By Bae Hyun-jung (email@example.com)