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Seoul: Won eases to 1-week low; markets ignore Park's arrest

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The South Korean won weakened to a one-week low early on Friday, but was expected to hold in a narrow range ahead of a biannual US Treasury report on exchange rates that will identify governments suspected of manipulating their currencies.

[SEOUL] The South Korean won weakened to a one-week low early on Friday, but was expected to hold in a narrow range ahead of a biannual US Treasury report on exchange rates that will identify governments suspected of manipulating their currencies.

The won's decline partly reflected broad US dollar strength following a US Federal Reserve officials' comments and supportive economic data.

"The won could have slumped more, but the exporters'continued dollar-selling is offsetting the dollar strength," said Ha Keon Hyeong, a foreign exchange analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.

Ousted president Park Geun Hye was arrested in the early hours of Friday after a South Korean court approved a warrant, but it had little effect on local markets.

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The won stood at 1,120.9 against the US dollar as of 0226 GMT, down 0.3 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,117.2. It was the lowest intraday level since March 24.

He said that all the focus is now on the US treasury's exchange rate report in April and he expects the won to trade between 1,100-1,110 per US dollar until then.

South Korean shares fluctuated in and out of positive territory as local investors sold stocks while foreigners bought.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was little changed at 2,163.83 points.

Offshore investors were set to be net buyers for a fifth straight session, purchasing 46.3 billion Korean won (S$57.66 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Steelmaker Posco rose more than two per cent on better than expected first-quarter earnings.

Hyundai Mobis gained 1.3 per cent.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 447 to 322.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds were unchaged at 109.49.

REUTERS

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