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Seoul: Won at 3-week low on US dollar strength, Samsung shares extend plunge

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won eased to a three-week low on Wednesday as the greenback continued its global rally, while tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd slumped for a third day, pressuring the stock market.

The won was quoted at 1,123.4 as of 0218 GMT, down 0.3 per cent compared to Tuesday's close of 1,120.4.

Shares of Samsung Electronics fell more than 2 per cent to a one-month low after it decided to permanently end sales of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphones. The stock has plunged 12 per cent so far this week.

"Samsung Electronics' current crisis is cooling foreign investors' stock demand. Also, the dollar is extending gains as market forecasts for US Federal Reserve's December rate hike strengthen, pressuring the won," said Park Sung-Woo, a foreign exchange analyst at NH Futures.

He added that the release of US central bank's meeting minutes may have some negative impact on the currency, but it was very unlikely to drop below the 1,125 level.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was almost unchanged at 2,032.14 points, weighed down by Samsung.

But battery maker Samsung SDI Co Ltd gained more than 3 per cent.

Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 342.4 billion Korean won (S$423.31 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, weighing on the index. Institutions bought a net 386.1 billion won worth.

Decliners and advancers were almost even by 399 to 368.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.02 point to 110.56.