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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Plans to raise the nominal value of ROK won

Economy terminology is difficult for an anthro, even though doing research on an economic subject, but loan terminology is apparently also difficult for Koreans. Then on the other hand, why should the loanwords always retain the meaning of the original language... Anyway, seems that the change in the nominal value of the currency (in the Korean case it'd be "taking off zeroes") is being called "denomination" (디노미네이션) in Korea, while the term as far as I understand should only refer to the nominal value (face value) of the currency; "high-denomination bill such as $1000" etc. Now the problem in writing this post is that I cannot recall what the English term was for changing the nominal value of currency, which has been taken under discussion in Korea by Lee Kye-ahn of OOP (Chosun Ilbo). (The Korean Bank tought of issuing a 100 000 W note earlier this year [my post from January], but I haven't heard anything about it since.) Rep. Lee is gathering opinions on the currency change, and there's also a considerable opinion within the opposition party for the need of the change, so perhaps something comes out of this. After all, it is quite strange that the biggest bill is 10 000 won, worth 7 euros or 8 dollars.

100 won bill issued in 1962 (from www.stampcoin.co.kr)

At least in people's imagination the worth of Korean currency would improve if two or three zeroes were taken off; the idea that bigger the nominal value the better the currency is quite widespread in my experience.
The mentioned subtraction of three zeroes would require a currency unit 1/100 of the Won; wonder what that would be... And the things or persons on the new bills? I think the good old historical figures are still the best, if there needs to be human beings. What about Korean or things or objects, which do not represent any actual existing objects, as the imaginary bridges and buildings in the Euro bills?

A commentator tipped that the term for what is being planned is redenomination - logically so now that I think. The commentator also tells that the term used in Japan for some 10 years ago when contemplating taking one zero off of Yen was denomination; so interesting once again to see the kind of "language union" existing between Korea and Japan, words and terms going back and forth.
Checking older Korean newspaper articles from KINDS, the word denomination appeared first in the early 1990s in connection with the Japanese redenomination plans, and again frequently in 1998 when there was a lot of talk about the subject in Japan.

Update 2.
Pak Yông-sôn, the vice representative of OOP tells that the party is not thinking of having the redenomination ("denomination" in Anglo-Korean) on its agenda, and leaves the matter for the government to do (Chosun). She notes that Korean Bank has pointed out the need to change the nominal value of Won, but the Ministry of Finance denounced it maintaining that prices would rise. "We haven't considered the matter" was what the minister of finance (actually "vice premier of finance", kyôngjebuch'ongni) has replied.
The Korean Chamber of Commerce (대한상공회의소) is of the opinion that a 100 000 won bill (or is it called note) needs to be issued (Chosun).
작년 한해동안 발행된 10만원짜리 자기앞수표가 11억6천400만장에 달해 3천600억원의 제조.취급 비용이 들었고, 여기에다 수표 부정사용 방지 및 소비자 취급 비용 등을 추가하면 전체 비용이 연간 1조원대로 추산된다는 것이다.
아울러 전체 현금수송 물량의 80-90%를 차지하는 1만원권 운송비로 매년 250억원이 필요해 10만원권을 발행하면 현금수송비만 연간 100억원 가량 절감될 것으로추정됐다.

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Comments to note "Plans to raise the nominal value of ROK won" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 7.9.04 : 

Maybe "revaluation"? The term has a slightly different meaning to economists I think (revaluation against foreign currencies), but in a non-technical context it carries the right meaning.

Using "denomination" strikes me as being similar to the established use of "IMF" to refer, not to the organisation that tried to help with the economy, but the economic downturn itself.

- Max Christian

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 7.9.04 : 

The term you're looking for is redenomination. Revaluation is different. The value of the currency will not be changed, just the denomination.

The Japanese had the same idea about 10 years ago now, and also used "denomination" as the term, but never went through with it. (They have one fewer digit on the end than the Koreans compared to the dollar)

<Blogger Antti Leppänen> said on 7.9.04 : 

Thanks for the comment! I have added that to the post. I'm old enough to remember the word "revalvation", raising the real value of the currency. (Actually I remember it through its opposite, devalvation, which used to be a common measure of economic policy in Finland before the currency was tied to Euro and changed altogether.

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