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Seoul: Won weaker on political issues, stocks edge up

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The South Korean won eased early on Thursday as investors watched for further political fall-out from President Park Geun Hye's public apology for showing a friend drafts of speeches before they were delivered.

[SEOUL] The South Korean won eased early on Thursday as investors watched for further political fall-out from President Park Geun Hye's public apology for showing a friend drafts of speeches before they were delivered.

The won stood at 1,138.0 as of 0212 GMT, down 0.4 per cent compared to Wednesday's close of 1,134.0.

President Park made the rare public apology on Tuesday as she sought to refocus attention on a proposal to amend the constitution so that presidents can serve more than one term.

During recent weeks, media reports have alleged that the president's friend Choi Soon Sil wielded inappropriate influence over Ms Park and that she used her acquaintance the president to benefit her family and business partners.

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Market voices on:

"The US dollar did strengthen a bit, but current political issues in the country are putting more pressure on won. Such downward movement is expected to continue until the Federal Reserve raise rates," said Chun Won Chang, a foreign exchange analyst at Shinyoung Securities.

Analysts expect the Fed to raise US interest rates by the year-end.

South Korean shares edged up, recovering from previous sharp losses.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.2 per cent at 2,018.41 points as of 0212 GMT.

Foreign investors were poised to be net buyers purchasing a net 17.8 billion Korean won (S$21.77 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd shares rose 2.2 per cent as it aims to recover quickly from the disastrous withdrawal of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 that dragged third-quarter mobile earnings to their lowest in nearly eight years.

Steelmaker Posco lost more than 3 per cent on profit-taking after the company said on Wednesday that it posted its strongest quarterly operating profit in more than four years.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 525 to 275.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.04 point to 110.41.

REUTERS

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