Bearing the Fed’s surprise results, South Korea’s key stock index was trading 20.06 points, or 0.61 percent, lower at 3,258.62 as of 9:15 a.m. The Korean currency was trading at 1,130.20 won per U.S. dollar, sharply down 13 won from the previous session.
First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon said the country has strong economic fundamentals and policy room to cope with potential market volatility, citing its FX reserves and an extended currency swap line with the U.S.
“The government has sufficient policy room to cope with (potential market volatility) in times of an emergency situation,” Lee said at a government meeting on macroeconomic situations.
The official said the government will not lower its guard against financial market situations as growing inflation concerns and possible rollbacks of easy monetary policy by major economies could sharply increase market volatility.
South Korea’s FX reserves rose to a record high of US$456.4 billion in May, up $4.15 billion from the previous month, according to central bank data.
By Kim Soo-yeon
SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) — South Korea will closely monitor the financial market as market volatility could increase following the Federal Reserve’s signal of an earlier-than-expected rate hike, a senior government official said Thursday.
After freezing its key rate at near zero at a policy meeting, the Fed signaled an earlier-than-expected rate increase in 2023 as U.S. inflation is rising amid an economic recovery. The U.S. central bank also hinted at starting to discuss ways to taper bond-buying programs.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) and the Fed agreed Wednesday to extend their $60 billion currency swap agreement by another three months through Dec. 31.
The two nations opened the swap line in March 2020 and have extended it twice in a bid to help ease potential FX liquidity shortage amid the pandemic.