Small Exchange: South Korea to regulate cryptocurrencies, India’s demonetisation status and UK airport exchange rates fall

Peter Terlato 5 September 2017 NEWS

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This week's currency news rounded up.

South Korea attempting to regulate digital currencies

South Korea, home to one of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges, has ordered its leading financial regulator to closely monitor and report on illegal transactions and the financing of digital currencies.

Yonhap News reports South Korea's Financial Services Commission (FSC) has warned of "excessive" transaction volumes and increasing volatility among cryptocurrency dealings.

"There is a need for the government to cope with the virtual currencies to prevent them from being used as tools for crimes and simple speculative investment," the FSC said in a recent statement.

Following in the footsteps of other nations, such as Australia, Japan and China, South Korea is attempting to slap rules on these mostly unregulated financial products.

The FSC stated that banks will be required to confirm the identity of individuals employed at digital currency exchanges and if any of their transactions are deemed suspicious, they must be reported.

Additionally, if a small money-transfer operator wishes to send money abroad using digital currency, the operator will need to report daily transfer records to the Bank of Korea, the FSC said.

Around one million South Koreans are estimated to possess bitcoins.

India's reserve bank uncertain of demonetisation status

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has told a parliamentary inquiry that it has "no information" on how much illegal money has been eradicated since demonetising the nation's currency late last year.

The RBI said it also had "no information" about unaccounted monies legitimised since the nationwide note recall of all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in circulation, carried out in November 2016.

The RBI said an estimated 15.28 lakh crore has been deposited back, "subject to future corrections" and that there is "no information" on whether demonetisation will continue to be implemented regularly.

Opposing parties in India have criticised the government for its lack of disclosure throughout the demonetisation process. However, the Modi government insists their efforts to curb the circulation of black money, among other achievements, has been successful and that it will take time to verify official figures.

UK airport currency exchange bureau rates sink lower

New research reveals travellers purchasing currency at airports throughout the United Kingdom are receiving rates as low as 86 euro cents to the pound, according to an analysis commissioned by the BBC.

A survey by foreign exchange broker FairFX, revealed the average euro rate across 16 of the UK's largest airports was 95 euro cents to the pound. In comparison, this average was 99 euro cents to the pound in December 2016.

The lowest rate, 86 cents to the pound, was being sold at Southampton airport on the south coast of England.

FairFX chief commercial officer James Hickman said tourists were being charged, on average, 14% more than at money markets to change their pounds to euros.

The best euro rate for tourists was €1.05 for £1.00 at Travelex, Newcastle airport.

The average tourist exchange rate for pound to US dollars was also quite low, averaging just US$1.12 for £1.00.

Each week Small Exchange sums up currency news from around the globe and looks into how it impacts exchange rates and options.

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