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Seoul: Won edges up ahead of US August non-farm payrolls report

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won inched up early on Friday in cautious trade ahead of the much-awaited August US non-farm payrolls report later in the day - which could give a clearer view on a potential Fed rate hike.

The won was quoted at 1,119.1 as of 0155 GMT, up 0.3 per cent compared with Thursday's close of 1,122.1.

News that a gauge of US national factory activity fell in August for the first time in six months added to the tentative mood.

"The dollar weakened broadly on the weak factory data but cautious investor environment is keeping the won from extending gains," said Jeong My-young, a foreign exchange analyst at Samsung Futures.

Mr Jeong said that even if the US August employment data was good enough to support the case for a Federal Reserve rate hike, the won would not fall that much because the Fed pace of monetary tighetning would not be aggressive.

The won was expected to be slightly lower for the week.

South Korean shares were almost unchanged and the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) stood at 2,032.34 points, and was set for a decline this week.

Offshore investors were poised to be net buyers, purchasing 94.9 billion Korean won (S$115.7 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor Co rose nearly 3 per cent while battery maker Samsung SDI Co Ltd dropped 2.3 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 424 to 356.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.02 point to 110.71.