[SEOUL] South Korean's won fell sharply on Wednesday morning to a near three-week low as shares slipped on weak data from China on Tuesday and a decline in global equities overnight, sapping investor appetite for risk.
Market participants were seen selling equities ahead of a holiday long-weekend in South Korea that begins on Thursday.
The won was trading at 1,154.2 per dollar, down 1.2 per cent against the previous close of 1,140.2. as of 0223 GMT. It touched 1,155.2 early in the session, its lowest level since April 15.
"Weaker-than-expected economic data released from major economies are making investors nervous," said Jeong My-young, a foreign exchange analyst at Samsung Futures.
She added that a US Federal Reserve official's statements hinting at a June rate hike had also broadly boosted the dollar.
San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams said that he would support an interest-rate hike in June as long as he saw continued progress in the economy.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.6 per cent at 1,973.52 points.
Foreign investors were set to be net buyers but trading was thin.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 597 to 217 on the main board. Car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Co was down 1.1 per cent and steelmaker Posco lost 3.0 per cent.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd was up 0.7 per cent, and were set to mark three consecutive gaining sessions.
June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.04 point to 110.31.