Volatility in the won-dollar exchange rate hit a three-year high in the first quarter of this year as the foreign exchange market seesawed due to speculation over a possible U.S. interest rate hike, central bank data showed Thursday.
The daily foreign exchange variation of the won-dollar rate averaged 0.47 percent during the January-March period, marking the highest level since the fourth-quarter of 2011, when it hit 0.64 percent, according to the data compiled by the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The figure refers to how much the rate changes compared with the previous day's closing price.
It was in the 0.3 percent range before 2013, but has been on a rise since the fourth quarter of last year as it jumped to 0.47 percent, according to South Korea's News Agency(Yonhap).
The intra-day fluctuation reached 0.62 percent in the first three months of the year, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2011, when it hit 0.81 percent.
The average gap between the intra-day high and low reached 6.8 won over the three-month period, as the local currency changed hands at an average of 1,100.3 won against the U.S. dollar on average.
"The foreign exchange market was very volatile in 2011 due to the eurozone crisis," the BOK said. "This year, the market was affected by the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policies." The Fed is expected to raise the key policy rate sometime this year after stopping its bond-buying program, but global financial markets have remained sensitive as it has not mentioned the exact timing of the rate hike.