Ministry of Finance informs global investors that Korea’s foreign exchange market is scheduled to be open 24/7

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho speaks during a meeting with executives from global investment banks in New York on Wednesday. (Ministry of Economy and Finance)

SEJONG — South Korea’s economic policymakers said the government will allow foreign-based financial firms to participate “directly” in the local foreign exchange market during a meeting with executives of global investment banks.

Saying the policy is part of the government’s effort to provide a favorable environment for foreign investors, the officials reiterated that Korea is working out details on the upcoming extension of foreign exchange market opening hours for a “gradual transformation to a 24 hours”. .”

Speakers at Wednesday’s meeting in New York included Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho, who participated in a question-and-answer session, and Deputy Vice Finance Minister Kim Seong-wook, who did a presentation.

Korea is also considering waiving the capital gains tax and interest tax on government bonds for foreign nationals, they said.

In addition, the officials confirmed Choo’s earlier commitment to spare no effort to become a regular member of the World Government Bond Index. Last month, London-based stock index provider FTSE Russell put Korea on the WGBI watch list as a preliminary step.

Regarding the country’s economic situation, Kim admitted that Korea is also exposed to downside risks, like other major economies.

But he said the nation’s current account remains in surplus despite the slowdown in the global economy. “A trade bill decline is a global phenomenon amid economic recession and rising energy prices,” he said.

He also stressed that the Korean won is not the only currency hit by an unprecedentedly strong dollar. Unlike the financial crises of 1997 and 2008, all major currencies, including the euro and yen, have depreciated during the recent turmoil, he noted.

Citing Korea’s world ranking of eighth in foreign exchange reserves as of August, Kim said the nation “has an adequate buffer against unexpected shocks.”

Officials also commented on the nation’s record domestic debt, which could be a central factor restraining private consumption and gross domestic product growth.

In an attempt to downplay concerns, they noted that household debt growth has slowed and debt asset quality remains under control.

Regarding Korea’s aging population, Choo and Kim unveiled a policy to promote the active participation of women and the elderly in economic activities.

By Kim Yon-se ([email protected])

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