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Seoul: Won dips as Yellen signals faster rate hike; stocks barely move

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won fell sharply early on Thursday as the dollar made a broad recovery on comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that US interest rates could rise quickly this year.

At home, a South Korean court dismissed a request for an arrest warrant for the head of the Samsung Group amid a graft scandal, boosting affiliates' shares while the overall index edged lower.

One of key Samsung shares, Samsung Electronics opened up more than 2 per cent, but gave up early gains as the trading continued.

The won was quoted at 1,176.4 to the US dollar as of 0230 GMT, down 0.8 per cent compared with Wednesday's close of 1,166.7. It went as low as 1,181.0.

Markets everywhere are waiting to see what President-Elect Donald Trump does on the policy front after his inauguration on Friday.

"What matters the most is Donald Trump's policies, which we know nothing of as of now," said Jeong My-young, a foreign exchange analyst at Samsung Futures.

South Korean shares barely moved with the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at 2,069.07 points.

Offshore investors were set to be net buyers, purchasing 56.8 billion Korean won (S$69 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.6 per cent while Posco gained nearly 3 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 495 to 313.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds lost 0.11 point to 109.43.


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