Overseas education spending down 13.8% in Sept.
Korea's overseas education-related spending fell 13.8 percent on-year in September as unfavorable exchange rates caused people to delay sending money abroad, the central bank said Sunday.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) said a total of $358.2 million was sent to foreign countries in the cited month to pay for school tuitions and short-term educational programs.
It said the decrease marked the sharpest fall since the 24.3 percent drop tallied for July 2009, when the country was struggling with the global economic crisis.
"Fluctuations in exchange rates have immediate impact on the size of money sent abroad to pay for schooling and educational programs," a BOK official said. He said that due to the weakening of the Korean won compared to the U.S. dollar, people held back on sending money during the month.
The official added that some students may have opted to take a temporary leave of absence or returned to Korea for the time being until exchange rates are more favorable.
The average exchange rate stood at 1,121.76 won to the greenback, which represents a depreciation of 4.5 percent compared to the previous month. In August, the won traded at 1,073.60 won to the U.S. currency.
The report, meanwhile, predicted that the size of money sent abroad may continue to dip in the coming months.
Related to the decrease in overseas spending, the central bank's latest findings showed that Koreans spent a little over $1.56 billion abroad on travel expenses in September.
The amount is a 4.6 percent drop vis-a-vis the year before and includes money spent on tourism, education and medical treatment. The contraction marks the first time since September 2010 that total overseas spending fell on an annual basis. (Yonhap)