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Seoul: Won, shares rise as Brexit worries fade

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares rose early on Monday as improved prospects for Britain to remain in the European Union reduced investors' fears of market turmoil if Britain were to quit the EU.

The won was at 1,165.2 per US dollar as of 0154 GMT, up 0.6 per cent compared to the previous close of 1,172.7.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 1.2 per cent at 1,976.58 points.

The campaign to keep Britain in the EU regained its lead in two opinion polls published on Saturday, giving a boost to Prime Minister David Cameron who is battling to avoid an historic "leave" vote in Thursday's referendum.

"Brexit worries have quieted down slightly, but we cannot yet say the market is back in a risk-on mood. The won is probably unlikely to firm beyond the 1,160 level," said Jung Sung Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

Local stocks were also largely helped by investor bargain-hunting.

Domestic institutions were poised to be net buyers, purchasing a net 62 billion Korean won (S$71.6 million)worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.

Foreigners were also expected to be net buyers, but only marginally, in the earlier half of the trading session.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd was up slightly after it said a power supply disruption at its China memory chip plant will have minimal market impact, with full-scale operations expected to resume in a few days.

Advancing issues far outnumbered losing ones by 587 to 210.

Screenmaker LG Display Co Ltd and steelmaker Posco were both up 2.5 per cent.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.05 point to 110.61.