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Seoul: Stocks, won end at multi-week lows on fresh missile concerns

[SEOUL] South Korean shares and won ended at multi-week lows on Monday following North Korea's most powerful nuclear test to date and amid concerns Pyongyang may be preparing more missile launches.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) ended 1.2 per cent lower at 2,329.65 points, its weakest closing level in three weeks.

The won was quoted at 1,133.0 to the US dollar at the conclusion of onshore trade, down 0.9 per cent versus Friday's close of 1,122.8.

It was the lowest closing level since Aug 21.

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South Korea's defence ministry said in a parliamentary hearing on Monday that it continues to detect signs that North Korea is preparing more ballistic missile launches.

Risk measures such as the spread on South Korea's 5-year credit default swaps finished at 63.3 basis points, its widest since Aug 21, while risk reversals in won options hiked to 2.5 points, its highest since Aug 14.

Offshore investors largely trimmed net purchases of local equities as geopolitical risks escalated again in the Korean peninsula.

They ended the day having net bought 4.4 billion won (S$5.33 million) worth of Kospi shares, down from 94.1 billion near mid-session.

South Korea's finance ministry official said 50-year treasury bonds may be issued in October if there is enough market demand and the movement in bond yields due to North Korea is one of the factors considered.