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Seoul: Won, shares rise hit 2016 highs on Yellen's cautious stance

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The South Korean won notched a 2016 high on Wednesday morning after US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated she does not favour an imminent rate hike.

[SEOUL] The South Korean won notched a 2016 high on Wednesday morning after US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated she does not favour an imminent rate hike.

The local currency was quoted at 1,155.4 against the US dollar at 0205 GMT, up 0.7 per cent from Tuesday's close of 1,163.8. Earlier, the won peaked at 1,152.4, its highest since late November.

"The won is likely to continue extending its gains in the near-term and find its footing at around the 1,140.0 level," said Jung Sung Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

He added that risk-off sentiment could still crop up given a shaky global oil price and a strengthening Japanese yen.

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South Korean shares also rose to their highest levels in 2016 as Yellen's speech perked up investors, with advancers outnumbering decliners 442 to 337.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.6 per cent at 2,006.90 points as of 0205 GMT.

Foreign investors were net buyers, adding 47.8 billion Korean won (S$56.06 million) of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Heavyweight stocks buttressed the broader market. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose 1.7 per cent on expectations for a stronger-than-forecast first quarter.

Screenmaker LG Display Co Ltd gained 2.7 per cent while carmaker Hyundai Motor Co rose 1.6 per cent.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.03 point to 110.40.

REUTERS

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