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Seoul: Stocks, won hit over 1-month low pressured by commodities


[SEOUL] South Korean shares and the won slipped early on Friday, pulled lower by Wall Street's decline overnight as commodity prices dropped, while comments by various US Federal Reserve officials suggested that an interest rate hike in December is increasingly likely.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 1.0 per cent at 1,974.16 points as of 0227 GMT, hitting its lowest intraday level since Oct. 5. Losers outnumbered gainers by 38-to-10.

The South Korean won was quoted down 0.3 per cent at 1,161.8 against the dollar, touching 1,162.0, its weakest level since Oct 7.

Fed officials lined up behind a likely December interest rate hike with one key central banker saying the risk of waiting too long was now roughly in balance, with the risk of moving too soon to normalize rates after seven years at near zero.

"Investors are keeping a watchful eye on Fed remarks lately with hopes that a rate hike in December in the US may actually happen after the recent strong jobs report there," said Kim Hak-kyun, a stock analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities.

Declining Soul shares included refiner SK Innovation Co Ltd and S-Oil Corp dipping 0.9 per cent and 1.0 per cent respectively as oil prices fell near 6 1/2-year lows touched in August.

Hyundai Motor Co fell 1.6 per cent and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp dropped by 2.6 per cent.

Offshore investors were poised to be net sellers for a fourth consecutive session, offloading 75.2 billion Korean won (S$91.9 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.04 points at 109.17.