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Seoul: Won nearly steady after Fed as Brexit eyed; stocks down


[SEOUL] The South Korean won was trading nearly flat early on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve held rates for another month as the decision had been fully priced in the market beforehand.

The won was traded at 1,171.9 as of 0222 GMT, up 0.1 per cent compared to Wednesday's close of 1,173.3.

The Fed kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and signalled it still planned to raise rates twice in 2016, though more of its policymakers saw just one increase this year.

"It's a bit too early to judge how many rate hikes there will be in the US this year, but the market seems to be expecting only one for now," said Park Yuna, an analyst at Dongbu Securities.

Ms Park added that the won's trading will be boxed in at the range of 1,160 to 1,180 level until the Brexit referendum, while traders shrugged off South Korea's announcement to ease the rule on banks' foreign currency forward positions.

Meanwhile, South Korean shares edged down as skittish investors sold them ahead of the vote later this month in Britain on whether to the leave the European Union or not. They were set to mark a sixth straight day of losses.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.5 per cent at 1,958.06 points.

Offshore investors were poised to be net sellers for five straight sessions, offloading 36.2 billion Korean won (S$41.8 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd was down 1.1 per cent while Korea Gas Corp lost 2.1 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 574 to 227.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.09 point to 110.73.