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Seoul: Won steady ahead of Trump, Fed events; stocks edge down

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The South Korean won barely moved early on Monday as investors chose to wait for speeches by Federal Reserve officials this week, and especially one by US President Donald Trump slated for Tuesday before Congress.

[SEOUL] The South Korean won barely moved early on Monday as investors chose to wait for speeches by Federal Reserve officials this week, and especially one by US President Donald Trump slated for Tuesday before Congress.

The won was quoted at 1,131.6 per US dollar as of 0234 GMT, almost unchanged from the previous close of 1,131.5.

"Most of emerging currencies seem to be holding back today ahead of those big events," said Jeon Seung-Ji, a foreign exchange analyst at Samsung Futures.

Mr Jeon said South Korea's foreign exchange authorities could let the won react a bit more than usual to whatever Mr Trump or other US policymakers have to say, as they could seek to limit smoothing operations in the currency market during the coming weeks.

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A US Treasury exchange rate report, which identifies suspected currency manipulation, is due to be released in April.

Markets were little influenced by South Korea's acting president Hwang Kyo-Ahn's decision not to extend the period for a special prosecutor's investigation into a political scandal that could topple President Park Geun-Hye.

South Korean shares edged down as foreign investors eagerly sold local equities to take profits, mostly in electric and electronics sector.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.2 per cent at 2,090.80 points. It reached as low as 2,084.08, its lowest intraday level in a week.

Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 131.9 billion Korean won (S$163.81 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

The sub-index for electric and electronics shares fell nearly one per cent as market heavyweight Samsung Electronics lost 0.5 per cent and SK Hynix dropped nearly 3 per cent. LG Electronics lost 4.2 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 428 to 363.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.05 point to 109.55.

REUTERS

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