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Seoul: Stocks end near 8-month peak on trade deal optimism

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South Korean shares closed at their highest in almost eight months on Friday after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Washington and Beijing would sign their initial trade pact in early January. The won and the benchmark bond yield gained.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares closed at their highest in almost eight months on Friday after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Washington and Beijing would sign their initial trade pact in early January. The won and the benchmark bond yield gained.

Mr Mnuchin said on Thursday the trade deal was completely finished and just undergoing a technical "scrub".

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi index closed up 7.62 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 2,204.18. The benchmark added 1.6 per cent for the week.

Foreigners were net buyers of 161.9 billion won (S$189 million) worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,160.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.43 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,165.6. The currency gained about 1 per cent so far this week.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,160.4 per US dollar, up 0.2 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,159.0 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.10 per cent, after US stocks hit fresh highs overnight. Japanese stocks fell 0.20 per cent.

The Kospi has risen 7.99 per cent so far this year, and gained 2.4 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

The trading volume during the session in the Kospi index was 637.64 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 908, the number of advancing shares was 437.

The won has lost 3.9 per cent against the dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds was unchanged at 110.43, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.53 per cent in late afternoon trade.

The most liquid three-year South Korean treasury bond yield rose by 1.1 basis points to 1.394 per cent in late afternoon trade, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by two basis points to 1.676 per cent.

REUTERS