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South Korea won, stocks flat as markets cautious before Yellen speech, BOJ

Monday, December 19, 2016 - 10:32

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The South Korean won was slightly down early on Monday as investors kept to the sidelines ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the outcome of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting.

[SEOUL] The South Korean won was slightly down early on Monday as investors kept to the sidelines ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the outcome of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting.

The won was quoted at 1,185.9 as of 0157 GMT, down 0.2 per cent compared to the previous close of 1,183.9, the fourth straight session of losses. The currency hit a low of 1,187.2, the weakest since late June of this year.

South Korean shares were virtually unchanged with the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at 2,042.20 points.

Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures, expects subdued trade as investors look ahead to global events.

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Fed Chair Yellen will deliver a speech later in the day while the Bank of Japan will announce the outcome of its two-day policy review on Tuesday.

"There is still some possibility the won may suddenly fall as investors are still wary of riskier assets," added Jung.

Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 7.3 billion Korean won (S$8.9 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Shares of Hotel Shilla Co Ltd fell nearly 4 per cent as it failed to win duty-free store licence. Shinsegae Inc, however, rose nearly 2 per cent as it was granted one.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 456 to 328.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 109.51.

AFP

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