[SEOUL] The South Korean won slumped on Monday morning as weaker-than-expected Chinese economic indicators and positive US data over the weekend dented investor demand for riskier assets.
The won was quoted at 1,178.6 to the US dollar, down 0.6 per cent compared to Friday's close of 1,171.4 as of 0222 GMT.
"The possibility of a US Federal Reserve June rate hike has gone up again, as US economic data turned out to be quite good, pressuring the won," said Park Sung Woo, a foreign exchange analyst at NH Futures.
Mr Park added that remaining wariness about a slowdown in global economic growth and an unstable Chinese yuan may put further pressure on the won.
South Korean shares changed course shortly after opening down, helped by foreign buying.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was nearly steady at 1,967.94 points.
Foreign investors purchased 37.9 billion Korean won (S$44.14 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.
The construction industry sub-index underperformed the broader market, falling 1.6 per cent with Doosan Engineering & Construction Co Ltd down 5.1 per cent and Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co Ltd down 3.1 per cent.
Market heavyweight Naver Corp rose 2.4 per cent.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 488 to 316.
June futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.01 point to 110.36.