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Seoul: South Korea won up on China's services activity; shares up

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South Korea's won firmed slightly on Wednesday morning, buoyed by new signs of strength in China's services sector that helped ease worries over persistent weakness in the economy.

[SEOUL] South Korea's won firmed slightly on Wednesday morning, buoyed by new signs of strength in China's services sector that helped ease worries over persistent weakness in the economy.

The local currency was up 0.3 per cent at 1,129.3 per dollar as of 0236 GMT, set to mark its fourth straight session of gains.

A private survey showed activity in China's services sector rose to its fastest pace in three months in October. The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 52.0 in October from September's 14-month low of 50.5.

"Asian currencies are showing some strength today but the won isn't expected to jump anytime soon and will run into resistance in the 1,120 won range," said Park Yuna, a fixed income analyst at Dongbu Securities.

Gains in the won were limited and local shares held steady as most investors await Friday's non-farm payrolls report which is expected to give clues as to whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 per cent at 2,053.52 points. Decliners outnumbered advancers by nearly 12-to-10.

"Market players will be looking to economic data such as the US employment data and Yellen's statement on the Fed rate hike that could ease woes over weakness in the economy," said Kim Yoon-seo, a stock analyst at KTB Investment & Securities.

Hyundai Motor Co shares were up 1 per cent after the automaker said on Wednesday it would launch a new global luxury car brand called Genesis.

Refinery SK Innovation CO Ltd and S-Oil Corp rose 3.0 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively, as oil prices slipped in thin trading on Wednesday.

Offshore investors sold a net 22.4 billion Korean won (S$27.7 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.06 points to 109.51.

REUTERS