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Seoul: Won slumps on buoyed dollar, stocks fluctuate

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won declined sharply early on Wednesday, erasing gains from the previous session, with the dollar buoyed by positive economic data.

The won stood at 1,123.0 as of 0156 GMT, down 0.7 per cent versus Tuesday's close at 1,115.6.

"US home sales data for July rose to a near nine-year high, pulling up the greenback and pressuring the won. Also, the Japanese yen's weakness against the dollar was affecting the won early today," said Park Sung-woo, a foreign exchange analyst at NH Futures.

Mr Park added that markets will have to wait until this week's economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is over to see where the won is heading.

South Korean shares wobbled as investors stayed on the sidelines, waiting for an outcome from the global central bankers' meetings.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.3 at 2,043.49 points.

Offshore investors were set to be sellers for the day, offloading a net 46.9 billion Korean won (S$56.1 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

The sub-index for iron, steel and metals rose near 2 per cent as major steelmakers, Posco and Hyundai Steel Co, gained more than 3 per cent.

Meanwhile, the construction-related stock index dropped 1.6 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 424 to 365.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.02 point to 111.08.