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Seoul: Won, stocks sag as Fed talk hints on rate hike

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares eased early on Wednesday after comments by Federal Reserve officials raised speculation that US interest rates will rise in September.

The won stood at 1,099.4 as of 0215 GMT, down 0.7 per cent from Tuesday's close at 1,092.2.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.4 per cent at 2,039.38 points.

"The won is declining more than expected on the (Fed) officials' statements as it has climbed up sharply the previous day," said Park Sung-woo, a foreign exchange analyst at NH Futures.

He said the market was waiting for Fed Chair Janet Yellen's comments from the conference at Jackson Hole to get a firmer grasp on when the Federal Reserve will hike the interest rates.

Jackson Hole meeting will be held on Aug 26.

Offshore investors were set to be net buyers, purchasing 15.9 billion Korean won (S$19.3 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

The sub-index for food and beverages fell more than 3 per cent with Orion Corp losing 12.1 per cent due to weak second-quarter earnings data.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 594 to 224.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.02 point to 111.07.