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Seoul: Stocks rise to 2-month high on trade optimism

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose to a two-month closing high on Tuesday as a report about China's new tariff waivers for US soya bean imports stoked hopes of an improvement in trade relations between the world's two largest economies. The won and the benchmark bond yield dropped.

China has granted new waivers to several domestic state and private firms exempting them from retaliatory tariffs on soybeans imported from the United States, Bloomberg said, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for trade talks in two weeks.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi ended up 9.34 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 2,101.04. It ended higher for the thirteenth consecutive session and marked its highest close since July 23.

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Hyundai Motor Group's announcement to set up a joint venture to develop self-driving vehicle technologies with Aptiv lifted shares of Hyundai Motor and parts maker Hyundai Mobis.

The plan, however, sent shares of car parts maker Mando plunging, with an analyst forecasting intensifying competition with Mobis.

Foreigners were net sellers of 178.3 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,195.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.14 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,194.0.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,195.4 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 1,193.5 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.04 per cent, after US stocks ended little changed. Japanese stocks rose 0.09 per cent.

The Kospi has risen 2.94 per cent so far this year, and gained 9.5 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 526.96 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 893, the number of advancing shares was 414.

The won has lost 6.7 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 points to 110.73, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.55 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.2 basis point to 1.328 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 0.2 basis point to 1.460 per cent. 

REUTERS