By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will extend trading hours of its foreign exchange market as part of its efforts to make Asia's No. 4 economy a more attractive investment destination, the finance minister said Thursday.
Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said the South Korean government will consider extending its foreign-exchange trading hours to 2:00 a.m. as early as the second half of 2024.
Currently, South Korean securities and foreign exchange markets run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The move came as South Korea is seeking to add vitality to its financial market hit hard by the slowing global economy.
"Amid the prolonged inflation, high interest rates and high debt, this year will be challenging for the globe as well as for South Korea, as the effect of monetary tightening moves takes into effect," Choo said in a meeting with foreign media in Seoul.
To overcome such challenges, Choo said his ministry will focus on significantly improving local policies to have the local trading environment meet "the global standard."
South Korea will also allow overseas foreign financial institutions to participate in the local foreign-exchange market, Choo added.
The minister said South Korea will come up with detailed plans to make the local securities market more accessible for foreigners later this month.
The measures will include making it mandatory for listed firms to file regulatory filings in English starting next year, Choo added.South Korea has been pushing to win developed market status from Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI).
MSCI has classified the South Korean stock market for years as an emerging market, saying the absence of an offshore currency market for the Korean won is one of the main reasons for its decision.
South Korea will improve the investment environment for foreigners in the bond market to become included in the World Government Bond Index (WGBI) as well, Choo added.The WGBI, operated by FTSE Russell, is a broad index designed to measure the performance of government bond markets, including local currencies and sovereign bonds of major advanced nations.