SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) — U.S. dollar-denominated deposits at South Korean banks have risen nearly 30 percent since February as investors have chased after safer assets amid the new coronavirus outbreak, industry data showed Sunday.

Outstanding dollar deposits at five local banks reached US$47 billion as of Thursday, up 28 percent from $36.6 billion tallied at the end of February, according to the data.

A rise in the foreign currency deposits came as investors betted on a stronger U.S. dollar amid pandemic-caused economic uncertainties.

The Korean won has fallen nearly 4 percent against the dollar so far this year.

Demand for the dollar deposits has continued to rise after they jumped $6.6 billion in March from the previous month.

South Korea’s COVID-19 cases sharply rose in February due mainly to cases traced to a minor religious sect in the southeastern city of Daegu after the county reported the first case in late January.

The country reported 34 additional cases Sunday, raising the total caseload to 12,085.