South Korea''s foreign reserves hit new high in Jan

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Seoul, Feb 7 (Yonhap) South Korea''s foreign exchangereserves rose to a fresh high in January as a soft US dollarbolstered the conversion value of assets in other currencies,the central bank said today.

The country''s foreign reserves reached US295.96 billionas of the end of January, up4.39 billion from the previousmonth, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The reserves rose for the second straight month inJanuary, surpassing the previous record high of293.35billion registered in October last year.

The foreign reserves have been on the rise as dollarinflows have increased amid robust exports and foreigninvestors'' sustained buying of Korean assets.

Foreign reserves consist of securities and depositsdenominated in overseas currencies, along with InternationalMonetary Fund (IMF) reserve positions, special drawing rightsand gold bullion.

"Amid a rise in investment profit, the reserves increasedas gains in the euro and the pound boosted their dollarconversion value," said Shin Jae-hyuk, an economist at theBOK.

"For now, it is hard to say when the reserve would hitthe300 billion mark as the value of non-dollar currenciessways due to unpredictable factors like the Egyptian unrest."

In January, the euro rose 2.3 percent to the dollar oneased fears about the eurozone debt crisis and growingprospects for a potential rate increase in the region. Thepound gained 2.7 percent to the greenback.

As of the end of December, South Korea was the world''ssixth-largest holder of foreign exchange reserves after China,Japan, Russia, Taiwan and India.(Yonhap)

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