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Seoul: Stocks track China lower amid trade worries; won gains

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index ended lower on Monday tracking losses in Chinese stocks, pulled down by mounting US-China trade friction. Chinese shares turned negative with the blue-chip share index falling 1.3 per cent. The Korean won edged higher, while bond yields dropped. At 0632 GMT, the KOSPI was down 1.18 points or 0.05 per cent at 2,286.50.

South Korean steel shares gained on Monday on expectation of steel price to rise after Chinese government's decision to curtail production of the metal as part of stricter environmental regulations. South Korea's steel giant Posco ended 2.6 per cent higher, leading the sector gains.

The won was quoted at 1,124 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.32 per cent firmer than its previous close of 1,127.6. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,124.14 per US dollar, down 0.16 per cent from the previous session, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,106.9 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.26 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks weakened 0.08 per cent. The KOSPI is down around 7.3 per cent so far this year, and up by 2.95 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 241,153,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 896, the number of advancing shares was 452. Foreigners were net sellers of 3,355 million won worth of shares.

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The US dollar has risen 5.42 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 1,140.4 on July 19, 2018. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.03 points to 108.16. The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent compared with a previous close of 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.098 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.11 per cent.

REUTERS