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South Korea

South Korea officially maintains a market-determined exchange rate. The Bank of Korea (BoK) intervenes in the exchange market with the stated objective of smoothing won volatility. During the severest period of the global financial crisis, Korea intervened heavily to support the won. Despite the BoK’s intervention, by the fourth quarter of 2008, the won had depreciated 45 percent against the dollar and 35 percent in real effective terms from its 2007 peak.4

남한은 공식적으로는 변동 환율 제도(신문에 ‘시장 결정 환율제’라고 번역했던데 좀 이상하다)를 유지하고 있다. 한국은행은 원화 변동성을 줄이는 명시적인 목적이 있을 때만 외환 시장에 개입한다. (2007년 미국 서브프라임 모기지 사태로 시작된) 국제 금융 위기 중 한국 정부는 원화를 안정시키기 위해 시장에 강하게 개입했었다. 그러나 한국은행의 개입에도 불구하고, 2008년 4/4분까지 원-달러 환율은 45 퍼센트 하락했는데, 2007년 가장 높았던 시점을 기준으로 하면 실제로 35 퍼센트 떨어진 셈이다.4

4Korean intervention to support the won took a variety of forms. Korea intervened in the spot market, and its headline foreign exchange reserves declined by $57 billion or 22 percent from July 2008 to February 2009. Korea also reduced its net forward position by $31 billion over the same period. The establishment of a swap line with the U.S. Federal Reserve in October 2008 did much to restore confidence; Korea’s swap line drawings rose to $18 billion at one point, but these drawings were fully unwound by November 2009 and the swap line expired in February 2010.

4한국 정부는 여러가지 형태로 환율 시장에 개입했다. 한국 정부의 현물환 시장에 개입으로, 외환보유액이 2008년 7월부터 2009년 2월까지 570억불 줄어 22퍼센트 감소했다. 같은 기간 한국 정부의 선물 포지션도 310억불 감소했다. 2008년 10월 미국 연방 준비 은행과 맺은 통화 스왑 협정으로 안정을 되찾았다. 한국의 스왑 라인 인출은 한 때 180억불에 이르기도 했는데, 2009년 11월까지 모두 갚았다. 스왑라인은 2010년 2월에 만료되었다.

In early 2009, foreign exchange market pressures reversed, and since that time the won has strengthened, as capital inflows returned and exports recovered. In this period, Korea has intervened in the opposite direction, selling won and buying foreign exchange to rebuild reserves and slow won appreciation.

In 2010, the won appreciated 3.6 percent against the U.S. dollar and 0.8 percent in real effective terms. As of end-December, the won was still 24 percent below its 2007 peak against the dollar, and 25 percent weaker than its pre-crisis high in real effective terms, despite a strong recovery of its domestic economy and exports. According to estimates from the 2010 IMF Article IV consultation with Korea, the real effective exchange rate of won is undervalued relative to its equilibrium level (estimates range from 5 to 20 percent). Korea’s foreign exchange reserves are now $23 billion above their pre-crisis peak.

South Korea’s economy continues to recover strongly from its sharp downturn in 2008. The economy grew 6 percent on an annualized basis in the first half of 2010 and 3.5 percent in the second half, bringing full year growth to 6.1 percent. Korea’s real GDP is now 6.2 percent above its pre-crisis peak. Exports were the main driver of Korea’s recovery in 2009, but investment and private consumption have made stronger contributions to growth in 2010, with domestic demand contributing over 6 percentage points. The IMF expects economic growth of 4.5 percent in 2011.

As the recovery has gained momentum, the Korean authorities have shifted their attention to countering inflation, and President Lee has made containing consumer price inflation to around 3 percent an economic policy priority for 2011. The BoK has raised its policy interest rate on three occasions since June 2010. The rate now stands at 2.75 percent, which is still well below its pre- crisis level of around 5 percent when inflation was around 5 percent year-over-year. Consumer price inflation averaged 3.6 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2010, driven by rising food and commodity prices, and reached 4.1 percent year-over-year in January, just over the BoK’s target inflation range of 2 to 4 percent. The prices of Korea’s imports, of which energy and commodities are a significant component, have been rising rapidly over the past several months, averaging around 9 percent year-over-year growth since May.

Korea’s merchandise trade surplus was $41.2 billion in 2010, exceeding the peak of $40.4 billion (4.8 percent of GDP) reached in 2009. The increase was driven by strong growth in exports, particularly to China and other emerging Asian economies. Korea posted a $9.3 billion trade surplus with the United States in 2010 through November, as exports reached $49.8 billion. Following a transition to a new IMF balance of payments accounting methodology, Korea’s 2009 current account surplus was revised downward from $42.7 billion (5.1 percent of GDP) to $32.8 billion (3.9 percent of GDP). Korea’s current account surplus in 2010 was $28.2 billion (2.9 percent of IMF-estimated 2010 GDP).

Korean authorities have been vocal in expressing concern about what they consider large and volatile capital inflows, and are considering a number of steps that they describe as preemptive and precautionary against excessive capital flows. In November and December, the financial authorities proposed the reinstatement of a withholding tax on foreign investors’ gains on Korean government bonds as well as a new tax on the external borrowings of banks located in Korea, with a higher tax imposed on short-term debt. The withholding tax was adopted in January 2011 and the other proposals are under consideration in the National Assembly. In June 2010, the government introduced limits on foreign exchange derivatives contracts for both domestic banks and local branches of foreign banks, which became effective in October.

Korea’s foreign exchange reserves increased from $201 billion in February 2009 to $287 billion in December 2010, $23 billion above their pre-crisis high, equal to 29 percent of GDP and twice the amount of short-term external debt. Korea’s net intervention over this period was larger than the $86 billion net increase in reserves suggests, considering the central bank’s operations in the forward market (data collected by the IMF indicate that Korea’s net long foreign currency/short domestic currency forward position increased from -$11.1 billion in February 2009 to $52.4 billion in December 2010), the unwinding of the swap line with the Federal Reserve (Korea repaid the $18 billion it withdrew from the swap line), and recent reserve transfers into Korea Investment Corporation, Korea’s sovereign wealth fund. The authorities’ desire to rebuild reserves after experiencing sharp and sudden capital outflows during the crisis is one factor behind this intervention. However, given the strength of the Korean recovery, rebuilding of reserves, and the rebound of the current account surplus, there is room for a greater degree of exchange rate flexibility and less intervention.


* http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/international/exchange-rate-policies/Documents/Foreign%20Exchange%20Report%20February%204%202011.pdf 18~19쪽을 옮긴 것입니다.
* 영어는 물론이고 경제 용어를 잘 몰라서 번역이 어렵네요.
* 다른 번역들도 있습니다: http://blog.daum.net/kipid/8307019
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