SEOUL, Dec. 6 -- South Korea's foreign currency deposits hit a new monthly high, maintaining a record-breaking trend for four straight months, as local brokerages increased borrowing Chinese yuan in Hong Kong to deposit the funds into local accounts amid rising interest rate differentials, central bank data showed Friday.
Foreign currency retail deposits reached a new high of 48.61 billion U.S. dollars as of the end of November, up 2.49 billion dollars from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea.
The figure kept its upward trend for six straight months, and topped the prior record high since August. The deposits refer to those deposited by local residents and foreigners staying here for more than six months.
Local financial institutions deposited massive yuan funds last month into the foreign currency accounts, offsetting a reduction in the U.S. dollar-denominated deposits, the central bank said.
Domestic brokerages increased borrowing yuan funds in Hong Kong where the forward yuan/dollar exchange rate fell, so the yuan interest rate became relatively lower in the swap market there than the one in Seoul.
Retail deposits denominated in the U.S. dollar ranked first in terms of deposit size with 38.81 billion dollars, but it was down 200 million dollars from the prior month.
Deposits denominated in the Chinese yuan jumped 2.53 billion dollars from a month earlier to 4.17 billion dollars at the end of November, beating those denominated in the European single currency with 2.02 billion dollars and the Japanese yen with 2.57 billion dollars.
Corporate deposits increased 2.27 billion dollars from a month earlier to 43.27 billion dollars as of end-November, with those for individual clients rising 220 million dollars to 5.34 billion dollars.