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Seoul: Won at 1-wk low on Singapore central bank easing, stocks jump on China data

Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 10:47

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The South Korean won slipped to its lowest intraday level in a week early on Thursday after Singapore's central bank unexpectedly eased its exchange rate-based policy, weighing on other Asian currencies.

[SEOUL] The South Korean won slipped to its lowest intraday level in a week early on Thursday after Singapore's central bank unexpectedly eased its exchange rate-based policy, weighing on other Asian currencies.

The won was quoted at 1,154.6 to the US dollar, weakening 0.8 per cent from Tuesday's close of 1,145.8. It had weakened more than one per cent in the early trade, touching its lowest level since last Friday.

"The dollar is up today while the Singapore dollar is sinking after the MAS decision," said Park Sung-woo, a foreign-exchange analyst at NH Futures in Seoul, referring to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

"This seems to be bringing down other Asian currencies too."

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Analysts and traders said South Korea's parliamentary election held on Wednesday, which saw the country's ruling party suffer an upset defeat, had little to no impact on the currency.

It did drag down local bond prices as the ruling Saenuri Party's economic policy goals had included tweaking the Bank of Korea's charter to enable the central bank to buy some bonds which it is currently not allowed to do.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds were trading down 0.12 points to trade at 110.18.

Meanwhile, South Korean shares jumped as better-than-expected China trade data boosted foreign buying of local equities.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up one per cent at 2,001.03 points.

Offshore investors were poised to be buyers, purchasing 322.0 billion Korean won (S$379.74 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.

Gaining issues far outnumbered losing ones 478 to 307, with heavyweights advancing.

Major steelmaker Posco gained as much as 4.6 per cent at the open, reaching its highest level since late December thanks to encouraging data from China - South Korea's biggest trading partner - and foreign buying.

Tech Giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose 1.8 per cent, set to post a third gaining session.

Carmaker Kia Motors Corp was up 2.4 per cent.

REUTERS

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