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Finance minister calls for efforts to ease steep currency market fluctuations
SEJONG, May 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea should make efforts to ease volatility in the currency market as concerns are deepening that the won is quickly losing ground against the Japanese yen, the country's top economic policymaker said Monday.

   "The government should make efforts to ease steep fluctuations in the foreign currency exchange rates," Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok told reporters during a meeting with reporters here.


His remarks come as the yen's continued decline is taking its toll on the South Korean economy whose companies have to compete with Japanese rivals in many areas on the global stage.

   The yen is expected to fall further as Tokyo is pinning its economic recovery hopes on so-called Abenomics -- a mixture of aggressive monetary and fiscal policies preached by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

   On May 9, the Japanese currency weakened past a key support level of 100 yen per dollar for the first time in four years and it is now flirting with the 103 mark.

   "The yen is falling at a faster pace than we had expected," Hyun said. "I can clearly say that the government is not viewing this as just a temporary phenomenon."

   He, however, stopped short of going into details, adding it would "do more harm than good" to make further remarks related to foreign exchange rates.

   Asked if the government is reviewing any additional measures to stabilize the currency market, the minister said there are "no immediate steps" under consideration.

   He also noted that the government is not considering adjusting the already-unveiled macro-prudential measures "at this time."

   Those measures intended to ease volatile cross-border capital flows include bank levies and tighter regulations on banks' foreign exchange derivatives positions.