Seoul: Stocks retreat from 3-week high on inflation fears, Ukraine crisis

[SEOUL] South Korean shares ended lower on Thursday (Mar 24), slipping from a 3-week high hit in the previous session, as higher oil prices fuelled inflation worries, while the Russia-Ukraine conflict sapped risk appetite. The Korean won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield rose.

The benchmark Kospi closed down 5.39 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 2,729.66.

Chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix fell 0.99 per cent and 2.43 per cent, respectively, leading the declines in the index, while battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 0.25 per cent.

The stocks tracked an overnight sell-off on Wall Street as oil prices jumped, while Western leaders began gathering in Brussels to plan more measures to pressure Russia to halt its conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow will seek payment in roubles for natural gas sales from "unfriendly" countries, while its forces bombed areas of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv a month into their assault.

At home, South Korea's nominee for its new central bank chief said on Thursday worries about inflationary and economic risks are mounting and that he would thoroughly review how to manage growth, price pressures and financial imbalances.

Meanwhile, some US$1.1 billion worth of Samsung Electronics shares were sold in a block deal by Kookmin Bank on Thursday, according to a term sheet seen by Reuters.

Foreigners were net sellers of 473.5 billion won (S$527.3 million) worth of shares on the main board.

The won ended at 1,218.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.41 per cent lower than its previous close.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,218, while in non-deliverable forward trading its 1-month contract was quoted at 1,218.4.

In money and debt markets, June futures on 3-year treasury bonds fell 0.08 point to 106.89.

The benchmark 10-year yield rose by 1.1 basis points to 2.843 per cent. REUTERS

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