By Jihoon Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) -South Korea will unveil a range of measures in the coming months to open its domestic financial markets, including plans to extend trading hours on the foreign exchange market, the country’s finance minister said on Thursday.
As part of such efforts, the government will announce next month plans to extend trading hours on the onshore foreign exchange market and allow offshore market players to participate in the market, Minister Choo Kyung-ho told a news conference.
“These measures are being made on judgment that our market-opening measures were belated when compared to the scale and international position of the country’s financial sector,” Choo told the news conference, arranged for the foreign media.
He said the government aims to put those measures in the foreign exchange market into force from the second half of next year. Trading hours would be extended from 0000 GMT to 1700 GMT from the current 0000 GMT-0630 GMT.
South Korea is pursuing the addition of its government bonds to FTSE Russell’s World Government Bond Index and of its stocks to the Morgan Stanley Capital International’s developed market index, to help attract more foreign investment.
Choo said the government would draw up measures to make the country’s stock market more attractive to long-term investors, such as increasing dividend payouts by listed companies and easing rules on foreign investors.
Data from Korea Exchange shows foreign investors were net sellers for the past three consecutive years on the main board, selling a total of net 57 trillion won ($45.8 billion) worth of shares during the period. ($1 = 1,245.0600 won)
(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Writing by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Lincoln Feast.)
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