Korea may tax derivatives (and FX) transactions

CFTCLaw.com reports that Korea’s financial regulators, the Financial Services Commission (“FSC”) and the Financial Supervisory Service (“FSS”), have been taking steps aimed (in part) at discouraging retail investors from being involved in “risky” derivatives trading, such as raising the minimum price to buy or sell option contracts. These actions, alongside the reduction in leverage to 10x on margin FX transactions effective as of last March, have caused a volume drop of about 35% in the Korean derivatives and FX market over the past few months.

Now comes word that the Korean regulators may impose transaction taxes on all derivatives transactions, although these proposals are still in the discussion stage. Either way, the regulator’s actions seem to be causing enough uncertainty to be scaring away some foreign brokers from the market, worried that there will be enough volumes to justify a profitable business. CFTCLaw reports that according to the KRX, Goldman Sachs and UBS have already withdrawn from the local equity-linked warrants (ELWs) market.

Given all the goings-on, as we reported last month we expect to see continued consolidation among leading players in the Korean FX sector.

For more on the global FX market see the LeapRate-Dow Jones Forex Industry Report.

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