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Seoul: Won poised to hit biggest monthly gain in 7 years; shares down

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won was set to strengthen against the dollar for the fourth straight session on Thursday as global risk sentiment rallied on a declining dollar.

The local currency was quoted at 1,143.5 per dollar, up 0.6 per cent compared with Wednesday's close at 1,150.8. It was on track to post a monthly gain of about 8 per cent, which would be its biggest since March 2009.

"Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech earlier this week is still dragging the dollar down, sparking risk appetite globally," said Kim Moon-il, a foreign exchange analyst at Eugene Futures.

For the month, the won was expected to reverse four straight months of losing against the greenback.

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South Korean shares fell early in the session after showing a dramatic climb the prior day, but were set to gain 4.4 per cent for March, biggest monthly per centage gain since September of 2012.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.5 per cent at 1,992.62 points as of 0205 GMT.

Offshore investors were poised to be sellers, unloading 131.3 billion Korean won (S$155.2 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Shares in heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd were down 0.5 per cent. The tech giant is expected to emerge from a two-year decline on the back of its new Galaxy S7 smartphone sales, a Reuters story showed on Thursday.

The transportation equipment sub-index underperformed the broader market with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd down 1.4 per cent, and Hanjin Heavy Ind & Const Holdings Co Ltd down 1.9 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 439 to 345.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.02 of a point to 110.35 after an official from South Korea's ruling party campaign said cutting the interest rates would have little impact on boosting the economy.

REUTERS

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