SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s finance minister said Thursday that financial authorities are closely monitoring the foreign exchange market, warning that it is ready to take actions at any time to smooth out the local currency’s sharp gains.

   Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki voiced concerns about the Korean currency’s rapid strength against the U.S. dollar, saying that excessive currency volatility is not desirable.

   “(The government) is closely monitoring the FX market with keen wariness. We will actively take actions at any time to stabilize the market,” Hong said at a meeting on the economy.

   “Over the past two months, the won has appreciated at the fastest pace among major currencies. The FX rate has moved in a one-sided manner,” he said.

   The Korean currency ended at 1,103.8 won per greenback on Wednesday, up 2.8 won from the previous session and marking the highest closing in 29 months.

   After Hong issued a warning on the FX market, the local currency was trading at 1,108.50 per dollar as of 9:02 a.m., down 4.7 won from the previous session.

   The U.S. dollar has been weakening since the U.S. Federal Reserve said in its September rate-setting meeting that it will keep interest rates near zero until inflation is on track to meet its 2 percent target.’

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