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Seoul: Won climbs to 3-week high, stocks fall


[SEOUL] The South Korean won climbed to its highest level in three weeks early on Monday, helped by broad dollar weakness and exporters' dollar sales for month-end settlements.

The won stood at 1,165.0 per dollar as of 0238 GMT, up 0.2 per cent from its previous close of 1,167.8. It was set to mark its fifth straight session of gains, having touched its highest level since Dec. 7.

"We'll have to see whether exporters will sell more dollars today but it's unlikely the won will reach the 1,150 won range soon," said a foreign bank dealer in Seoul, who added foreign exchange authorities could step in to slow the won's rise around 1,160.

The currency's gains were curbed by traders seeking dollars after selling off local shares.

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South Korean stocks were set to fall for a second straight session to a one-week low with foreigners poised to become net sellers of local stocks for an 18th consecutive session.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.9 per cent at 1,972.40 points.

Shares in Samsung C&T Corp were trading down 2.4 per cent after South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group said on Sunday its battery-making arm Samsung SDI Co Ltd will sell 5 million shares in the sister firm.

Samsung SDI stocks were also down, losing 3.5 per cent, early on Monday.

Foreign investors net sold 32.9 billion won (S$39.7 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 490 to 390.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 1 per cent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.2 per cent lower.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds ticked down 0.02 points to trade at 109.58.