Kimchi refrigerators in South Korea keep cash hoards cool

(From Korea Times)

By Kim Jae-won

A growing number of Koreans are using Kimchi refrigerators as an alternative to a safe in which to hoard their cash amid record low interest rates, a Bank of Korea (BOK) official said Thursday.

Kimchi fridge

Kimchi fridge

Those with cash to spare prefer kimchi refrigerators to traditional safes because the Korean kitchen coolers can contain more cash and keep hard currency at an appropriate temperature and humidity. A kimchi refrigerator can hold more than 1 billion won ($895,200) if filled with 50,000 won notes.

Cash hoarding is emerging as the latest trend for the rich as interest income from savings accounts has plunged amid record low interest rates.

“Rich people save their cash at home by putting it in a kimchi refrigerator as they expect little return from a bank due to low interest rates,” said Jang Min, a BOK director, in a luncheon meeting with reporters.

He said that it is hard for the central bank to exercise monetary policies to boost the economy if people do not use money by keeping it at home. Korea introduced the 50,000 won note in 2009, but there were soon suspicions that they were being used to create slush funds. Read more


Categories: Asia Unhedged, Koreas

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