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South Korea: Stocks hit record high on improved global demand, won at 4-week high

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares rallied to another record high on Monday as global demand for riskier assets improved after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's signalled gradual policy tightening, which was reinforced by the release of weak US economic data.

US consumer prices were unchanged in June and retail sales fell for a second month, pointing to tame inflation and soft domestic demand that diminished prospects of another rate hike from the Fed this year.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.3 per cent at 2,422.97 points as of 0208 GMT, highest ever intraday level. The index touched as high as 2,430.34.

The South Korean won also strengthened to over four-week high as the dollar weakness continued after data release.

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The won was up 0.5 per cent at 1,127.7 against the dollar compared to Friday's close of 1,133.3, strongest intraday level since June 15.

"The KOSPI seem to have more room to grow as global demand is showing improvements," said Kim Ji Hyung, a stock analyst at Hanyang Securities.

Mr Kim added that the market players are also investing eagerly on high hopes of robust exports data for the first 20 days of July due to come out on July 20th, which can be an indicator for end-July figure.

"Upbeat exports for another month can be a good catalyst for further gain in the main bourse."

Offshore investors were expected to be net buyers, purchasing 17.3 billion Korean won (S$21million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Samsung SDS gained nearly 4 per cent and Samsung Electronics 1 per cent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 478 to 322.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.02 point to 109.21.

REUTERS

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