[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares notched their highest levels in several weeks early on Friday on strong risk sentiment led by positive US economic data and Bank of England's hint on monetary easing in August.
The won was quoted at 1,134.2 as of 0153 GMT, up 0.3 per cent from its previous close of 1,137.4. It rose as high as 1,131.9 before midday, its highest since April 20 of this year.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.5 per cent at 2,018.92. The index touched a five-week intraday high in early trade.
"The won firmed beyond the 1,140 level as the Bank of Korea was not dovish enough in yesterday's policy meeting. It was also helped by additional easing expected from the Bank of Japan in late July," said Jung Sung Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.
The won's rally would continue for a while amid the absence of policy momentum, he said.
Both the won and shares were set to rebound from the previous week's loss for the week.
Offshore investors were poised to mark their seventh straight session of buying. They purchased a net 148.0 billion won (S$175.34 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.
Shares of shipping companies sharply rose earlier in the session.
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd rose as much as 23.7 per cent on signing a vessel sharing agreement with 2M alliance.
Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd rose 7.5 per cent.
Advancing issues outnumbered losing issues by 439 to 344.
September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.06 point to 111.10.