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Seoul: Stocks gain; won tumbles on trade war fears

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index edged up while the won plummeted on Thursday as the Sino-US trade war escalated after the US threatened to impose fresh tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Bond yields rose.

South Korea's central bank left monetary policy steady on Thursday for a fifth straight monetary meeting, reflecting the fragile state of the job market and concerns over the US-China trade war impacts.

At 0143 GMT, the KOSPI was up 8.99 points or 0.39 per cent at 2,289.61. The won was quoted at 1,130 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.88 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,120. The currency hit the lowest level since Oct 2017.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,129.3 per US dollar, down 0.18 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,112.3 per dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.05 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese stocks rose 1.09 per cent.

The KOSPI is down around 7.6 per cent so far this year and 8 per cent in the last 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 (S$1.5 trillion).

The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 130,940,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 881, the number of advancing shares was 429. Foreigners were net sellers of 72,251 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.95 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2, 2018 and low is 1,129.9 on July 12, 2018.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.06 points to 108.25. The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.07 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.06 per cent.

REUTERS

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