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South Korea won, stocks steady as upbeat US data calm investors

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The South Korean won was steady early on Monday as traders were reluctant to chase the currency higher after last week's gains and as the dollar remained firm on the back of positive US economic data.

[SEOUL] The South Korean won was steady early on Monday as traders were reluctant to chase the currency higher after last week's gains and as the dollar remained firm on the back of positive US economic data.

The won was quoted at 1,134.6 per dollar as of 0216 GMT, down 0.1 per cent compared to Friday's close of 1,133.9.

US retail sales rose more than expected in June as Americans bought motor vehicles and a variety of other goods, bolstering views that economic growth picked up in the second quarter and comforting investors worried about the Brexit impact on global growth.

"Last week we saw the won firm rapidly and that's creating some caution among investors from chasing the currency up any further," said Park Sung Woo, a foreign exchange analyst NH Futures, referring to possible smoothing intervention from foreign exchange authorities.

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Mr Park said the won may maintain its steady gains through July as several central bank meetings late in the month are expected to boost equities and underpin currencies perceived to be riskier.

South Korean shares were flat near midday, with the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at 2,017.16 points, almost unchanged from the previous close.

Traders said the failed military coup in Turkey had a limited impact on markets on Monday but investors were keeping a wary eye on geopolitical tensions in the region.

Foreign investors were poised to be buyers for the eighth consecutive session, purchasing a net 43.8 billion Korean won (S$52 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Shares of steelmaker Posco rose 1.1 per cent while Hyundai Mobis declined by 2.8 per cent.

REUTERS

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