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Seoul: Stocks, won tumble on intensifying Sino-US trade war

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index and the won weakened on Wednesday on escalating Sino-US trade tensions, after US trade representative Lighthizer said it will impose tariffs of 10 per cent on additional US$200 billion of Chinese imports. Bond yields also fell.

At 01:11 GMT, the Kospi was down 29.64 points or 1.29 per cent at 2,264.52.

The sub-index for transportation equipment sector tumbled 1.7 per cent. Hyundai Motor fell 2 per cent while Ssangyong Motor rose as much as 25.3 per cent, marking its highest level since February. The gain came after Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra said the company plans to invest about 1.3 trillion won (S$1.58 billion) in Ssangyong Motor over next 3-4 years.

The won was quoted at 1,121.7 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.51 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,116.

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In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,121.6 per US dollar, down 0.73 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,104.7 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.75 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks fell 1.94 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 7 per cent so far this year, and down by 6.77 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 144,592,000 shares and, of the total 875 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 210.

Foreigners were net sellers of 20,054 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 5.18 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per US dollar on April 2, 2018 and the low is 1,125.17 on June 27, 2018.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.09 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, lower than the previous day's 2.10 per cent.

REUTERS