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Korean banks' foreign-currency deposits soar in Nov.

Foreign currency deposits at South Korean banks rose at the fastest pace in 12 months in November as people increased holdings of the weakening US dollar, central bank data showed Friday.

The balance of foreign currency deposits held by local lenders reached $75.05 billion at the end of last month, up $6.94 billion from a month earlier, according to the data by the Bank of Korea.


The on-month gain marked the largest since November last year, when foreign savings rose $7.13 billion from the previous month.

Foreign currency deposits include those held by foreigners who have stayed in South Korea for more than six months, as well as by foreign companies operating here.

The BOK said people refrained from selling spots in the dollar amid a weaker US greenback trend. The won-dollar rate finished at 1,121.2 won on Nov. 30, compared with 1,139.6 won on Oct. 31.

As a result, deposits in US dollars expanded $5.93 billion to a seven-month high of $62.79 billion in November, with Japanese yen-denominated savings edging up $570 million to $5.27 billion.

Overall, US dollars accounted for 83.7 percent of all foreign currency deposits at local banks last month, followed by yen-denominated deposits at 7 percent and euro-denoted savings at 4.9 percent.

By holder, companies held $60.7 billion in foreign currency deposits last month, up $6.08 billion from a month earlier, while deposits held by individuals climbed $860 million to total $14.35 billion, according to the data. (Yonhap)