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Seoul: Won falls sharply on US Dec jobs data; stocks steady

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The South Korean won fell more than 1 per cent early on Monday in the wake of December US jobs data which heightened market anxieties that the Federal Reserve's next rate increase may come sooner rather than later.

[SEOUL] The South Korean won fell more than 1 per cent early on Monday in the wake of December US jobs data which heightened market anxieties that the Federal Reserve's next rate increase may come sooner rather than later.

Though US employment increased less than expected in December, a rebound in wages pointed to sustained labour market momentum.

The won stood at 1,204.0 to the US dollar as of 0225 GMT, down 0.9 per cent from the previous close of 1,193.0. It reached as low as 1,205.2.

"The currency will move between 1,200 and 1,210 level in the near term," said Park Sung-woo, a foreign exchange analyst at NH Futures, adding the market this week will focus on a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday and President-elect Donald Trump's Wednesday press conference.

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South Korean shares barely moved and the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was at 2,049.13 points.

Offshore investors were on track to be net buyers, purchasing 74.1 billion Korean won (S$88.6 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose nearly 3 per cent to touch another record high, thanks to its fourth-quarter earnings guidance surprise.

Cosmetics company Amorepacific dropped more than 3 per cent as investors were concerned China, one of its largest markets, may retaliate further regarding South Korea's decision last year to deploy the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) system.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 563 to 237.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.07 point to 109.53.

REUTERS

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