South Korea to allow foreign firms trade USD/KRW onshore, extend trading hours from July

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s foreign exchange authority on Wednesday said it will open its currency market to global traders and extend trading hours, and that it will adopt rules to ensure reform does not lead to discrepancy in pricing.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy will open its U.S. dollar-won market to foreign financial institutions under a pilot program from January. It will also extend onshore trading hours until 2 a.m. from July, the finance ministry said.

It also vowed to enhance monitoring and adopt global regulatory practices, as giving foreign investors more access to its markets could lead to more market swings.

One such measure is banning the use of shortcut key inputs between 15:20 p.m. to 15:30 p.m. local time to prevent speculative orders causing price fluctuation among those trying to trade right before local trading hours end.

Currently, the won can only be directly traded with the dollar through local banks, for just six-and-a-half hours a day from 9 a.m. (0000 GMT) to 3:30 p.m.

(Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Christopher Cushing)