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S Korea: Stocks flat as trade optimism offsets profit-taking; won steady

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares were flat on Monday, as losses on profit booking after a recent rally were capped by lingering optimism over an interim US-China trade deal, while exports data in-line with expectations failed to make any impact.

Meanwhile, the South Korean won was steady, while the benchmark bond yield dropped.

US President Donald Trump on Saturday said the US and China would "very shortly" sign their so-called "Phase One" trade pact.

South Korean exports fell again in the first 20 days of December, but a recovery in demand from China and stabilising chip prices offered signs that a year-long run of declines may be nearing its end.

As the exports figures were in line with market expectations, its influence was not considerable, said Lee Won, an analyst at Bookook Securities. A rebound in chip sales is likely from the second quarter of 2020, he added.

As of 0148 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI fell 3.87 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 2,200.31.

Foreigners were net buyers of 4.3 billion won (S$5.02 million) worth of shares on the main board.

The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 209.21 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 906, the number of advancing shares was 303.

The KOSPI has risen 7.87 per cent so far this year, and gained 3.1 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

 

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.13 per cent, after US stocks gained modestly on Friday. Japanese stocks rose 0.11 per cent.

The won was quoted at 1,162.4 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.15 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,160.6.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,160.5 per US dollar, down 0.1 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,158.7 per US dollar.

The won has lost 4.0 per cent against the dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 points to 110.47, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.53 per cent.

The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.9 basis points to 1.385 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 1.9 basis points to 1.657 per cent.

REUTERS