Soaring won-dollar exchange rate brings both positives, negatives

An employee at the counterfeit response center of Hana Bank's headquarters holds U.S. dollars in central Seoul, April 3. Yonhap

The strengthening of the U.S. dollar against the Korean currency — nearing the 1,400 won mark — is having varying effects on different people. While tourists and expatriates in Korea welcome the bolstered greenback, Koreans studying in the U.S. or working abroad and receiving their paychecks in Korean won are encountering difficult times.“My actual monthly income has risen thanks to the soaring exchange rate, as I receive my paychecks in U.S. dollars,” said a 52-year old-office employee working at an international organization in Korea, who wished to remain anonymous.

Tourists visiting Korea are also among the main beneficiaries of the strong dollar.“As the won-dollar rate has risen somewhat, I think I will be doing more shopping. I am glad I can perhaps invite my friends in Korea to fancier restaurants during my stay there,” said Kim Myung, a Korean American planning to visit Korea during her upcoming vacation.Furthermore, this period presents a favorable opportunity for trading companies that purchase goods in Korea with dollars and subsequently sell them in the U.S. or other markets abroad.Those who are planning to pursue a further degree in the U.S. or are currently studying abroad are troubled by the high won-dollar exchange rate. As they have to cover expenses such as university application fees, tuition, dorm rent and meals in dollars, their pre-planned budget for studying abroad has been somewhat jeopardized and now requires more money.“As the new school year starts in August, one has to set up a payment plan soon for tuition and other expenses. As the won-dollar exchange rate makes a difference of millions of won, let’s just wish that the rate will go down,” a student studying in the U.S. 메이저 wrote on an online community for Korean students studying abroad.

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