S. Korea ‘thoroughly’ monitoring FX market, having response plans ready

South Korea is "thoroughly" monitoring developments in the foreign exchange market with scenario-based response plans in place, its finance chief said Thursday, amid concerns over the recent depreciation of the Korean won. Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok made the remarks a day after he and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Janet Yellen and Shunichi Suzuki, acknowledged "serious concerns" over the sharp depreciation of the won and the Japanese yen in a joint statement following their first trilateral talks in Washington. "(We) have been thoroughly monitoring it and have our response plans based on scenarios," he told reporters. "If need be, we send a message to the foreign exchange market through international cooperation. That said, my meeting with the Japanese finance minister and the trilateral fiance minister's meeting were part of that effort," he added. On the eve of the three-way talks, Choi and Suzuki held a bilateral meeting, where the two sides voiced serious concerns over the sharp weakening o f their currencies against the U.S. dollar. Asked whether it is fair to believe that the U.S. gave a nod to South Korea's potential intervention to tame market volatility, Choi called on the press to take the wording in the joint statement "as it is." Commenting on the part of the joint statement that appeared to touch on Chinese activities, Choi said that this week's three-way talks were not about "excluding any particular country." In the statement, the three finance chiefs emphasized the importance of collaboration to "overcome supply chain vulnerabilities and the possible harm to our economies from non-market economic practices of other countries." "It was about us sharing awareness and responding to common challenges facing the three countries," he said. "As China is among our top trading partners, we believe that we have to further strengthen economic cooperation with China. Consultations are underway to hold economic ministers' talks between South Korea and China this year as well," he added. Ask ed to comment on the request by Korea's Democratic Party for arranging an extra budget to help stabilize people's livelihoods amid high prices, Choi stressed the need for assistance specifically targeting the socially vulnerable. "Considering our country's growth outlook, the role of fiscal policy at this point is to provide assistance for target brackets consisting of the socially vulnerable," he said. Choi came here for the three-way talks, and to attend the gathering of finance ministers and central bank deputies of the Group of 20 nations this week. Source: Yonhap News Agency