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Seoul: Won rises focusing on US wage lag, stocks steady

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won strengthened against the greenback early on Monday despite higher-than-expected jobs growth in the United States as traders focused more on the sluggish wage gains.

The won was quoted at 1,150.6 as of 0220 GMT, up 0.3 per cent compared to Friday's close of 1,154.3.

"Currencies in developing countries, including won, seem to be reacting more to the lagging wages whereas their counterparts in developed countries (reacted) more to big increase in payrolls," said Kim Doo-Un, a foreign exchange analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

Mr Kim added that the won would continue to move in a narrow range for most of the week until Thursday, when the Bank of Korea's policy meeting is being held.

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"After adjusted economic growth forecast from the BOK comes out, which will probably be higher than before, more offshore investors will come in and the won is likely to become even stronger."

South Korean shares were slightly higher, with the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) up 0.2 per cent at 2,385.24 points.

Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 22.2 billion Korean won (S$26.67 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 1.3 per cent while LG Electronics fell 2.3 per cent. Both released earnings guidance for the second-quarter on Friday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 558 to 245.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.04 point to 109.08.

REUTERS

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