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Seoul: Won bounces after sharp decline; stocks nearly flat

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won strengthened against the US dollar on Friday morning, rebounding from a steep decline sparked by the Singapore's central bank's surprise easing on Thursday.

The won stood at 1,149.5 to the greenback up 0.6 per cent as of 0201 GMT compared to Thursday's close of 1,156.7.

"There will be just subtle changes to the won's level for the day. Even the China GDP data will have limited impact since it has already been priced in," said June Park, a foreign exchange analyst at Daishin Economic Research Institute.

China's economy grew 6.7 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, meeting expectations and providing additional evidence that a slowdown in South Korea's largest trading partner may be bottoming out.

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On a weekly basis, the won looked set for a third straight week of gains.

South Korean shares were taking a breather after notching the highest level of the year the previous day.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.1 per cent at 2,014.55 points.

The main bourse was on course to snap three consecutive weeks of decline.

Net buying by foreign investors totaled 61.2 billion Korean won (S$72.56 million) so far on Friday, making them set to post a third straight session of net purchases.

Decliners and advancers were almost even 393 to 368.

Screenmaker LG Display Co Ltd shares fell as much as 8.4 per cent on concerns that it could lose orders from Apple Inc for iPhone displays.

Battery maker Samsung SDI Co Ltd gained up to 5.3 per cent in the earlier trade after it said it plans to invest 1 trillion won on making batteries for electronic cars. It later cut gains to stand just 1.9 per cent up.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.02 point to 110.13.

REUTERS

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