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Seoul: Stocks fall on disappointing Chinese trade data

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index retreated on Monday due to disappointing Chinese trade data, which investors saw as a fresh evidence of cooling global economy amid the months-long trade conflict between the United States and China. The Korean won lost nearly 0.6 per cent against dollar, while bond yields were unchanged. At 0632 GMT, the Kospi closed down by 11.05 points or 0.53 per cent at 2,064.52.

China's exports unexpectedly fell the most in two years in December and imports also contracted, pointing to further weakness in the world's second-largest economy in 2019 and deteriorating global demand.

The aftermath of the Sino-US trade war is becoming palpable, raising global economic uncertainties, Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said in a note.

Shares of SK Hynix closed 4.6 per cent lower on grim outlook of DRAM sales. Analysts at Mirae Asset Daewoo said the leading chipmaker is expected to cut 2019 business profit expectation to 9.9 trillion Korean won from 15.5 trillion won projected earlier.

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The won was quoted at 1,123 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.59 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,116.4. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,123.68 per US dollar, down 0.58 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,106.95 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.07 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese financial markets remained closed on Monday for a local holiday. The Kospi is up around 1.7 per cent so far this year, and up by 1.14 per cent in the previous 30 days.

The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the dividend yield is 1.28 per cent and the market capitalisation is 1,242.04 trillion won. The trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 427,924,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 898, the number of advancing shares was 420. Foreigners were net buyers of 95,565 million won worth of shares. ** The U.S dollar has risen 0.93 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,113.81 per dollar on January 11 2019 and low is 1,130.05 on January 3 2019.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.02 points to 109.28. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.803 per cent, barely changed from the previous day's 1.80 per cent.

REUTERS