[SEOUL] The South Korean won rose against the dollar on Monday, and kept its gains as Moody's Investors Service upgraded South Korea's ratings to the highest ever.
The won was quoted at 1,178.4 to the dollar as of 0245 GMT, up 0.4 per cent compared to Friday's onshore close of 1,183.0.
On Saturday, Moody's Investors Service said it had upgraded South Korea's issuer and bond ratings to Aa2 from Aa3, the highest ever for the country, and changed the outlook from positive to stable. The ratings showed South Korea's economic resilience and fiscal strength.
"Moody's upgrade and local exporters' demand for month-end settlements pushed up the won," said Jung Sung-yoon, a fixed-income analyst at Hyundai Futures.
In the stock market, Seoul shares treaded water after a choppy trading week, with limited support from profit-taking offset by continuous foreign selling.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.1 per cent at 1,973.75 points.
Offshore investors sold a net 47.6 billion Korean won (S$57 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.
The sub-indexes for transport equipment and machinery underperformed the broader market, each losing 1.7 per cent and 1.1 per cent, after customs agency data showed South Korean exports and imports plunged in Dec 1-20 period.
Auto maker Hyundai Motor Co and its auto-parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd both lost 1.6 per cent.
Samsung Engineering shed 1 per cent despite saying it won a US$552 million order while Hanwha Techwin Co Ltd rose 3 per cent after saying it signed an additional risk and revenue sharing deal with Pratt & Whitney.
March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.1 point to 109.64.