[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose back above the 2,000-point level for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday morning as oil prices recovered slightly and foreign investors became net buyers of local stocks after a 15-day selling spree.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.7 per cent at 2,005.66 points as of 0229 GMT. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 15-to-10.
"A bounce-off in oil prices after plunging to an 11-yr low brought relief to the market," said Cho Byung-hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.
Energy Chemical and Steel industries led advancers, with most sectors in positive territory.
Petrochemical counters underpinned the wider market as oil prices rebounded slightly after a relentless fall. SK Chemicals Co Ltd advanced 2.7 per cent, and LG Chem Ltd gained 2.3 per cent.
Steelmaker POSCO and Hyundai Steel Co gained 3.8 per cent and 6.1 per cent, respectively.
Offshore investors purchased a net 27.4 billion Korean won ($23.40 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, set to turn net buyers for the first time in 16 sessions.
The South Korean won strengthened with its regional peers, tracking recent gains in the Chinese yuan.
The won was quoted at 1,171.2 per dollar, up 0.2 per cent compared with Tuesday's onshore close of 1,173.3.
"Investors aren't taking active positions ahead of the holidays, but a recent rebound in oil prices and China's yuan pushed up the won," said Hong Seok-chan, a foreign-exchange analyst at Daishin Economic Research Institute.
Foreign inflows into local equities as well as exporter demand for settlements also provided support for the local currency.
March futures on three-year treasury bonds edged up 0.02 points at 109.57.