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Seoul: Won firmer on broadly weaker dollar; shares steady


[SEOUL] The won climbed to near two-week high on Friday morning, as a broadly weaker dollar was expected to support commodity prices, thereby easing deflationary pressures in countries like South Korea, but investors were wary ahead of US jobs data.

The won stood at 1,193.8 per dollar as of 0211 GMT, 0.7 per cent firmer than Thursday's close and its highest since January 25.

"Risky assets including Asian currencies could rally for 2-3 more weeks as I expect more dollar selloff. However, any move to more than around 1,190 would be limited by worries over intervention by the foreign exchange authorities to curb the won' s sharp rise and importers' demand for settlements," said Park Yuna, a foreign-exchange analyst at Dongbu Securities.

South Korean shares were subdued in thin morning trade before the long Lunar New Year break, as investors moved to the sidelines before US non-farm jobs data due later in the global day.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) stood at 1,916.61 points, almost unchanged from the previous close.

Refiners and chemical stocks underperformed the main bourse, with SK Innovation Co Ltd sliding 3.1 per cent and Lotte Chemical Corp falling 1.7 per cent.

Shares in Kakao Corp gained 1.2 per cent despite posting fourth-quarter net profit of 10 billion won, well below the Thomson Reuters Smart Estimate of 22 billion won.

Foreign investors had unloaded a net 31 billion won (S$36.4 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.2 per cent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.4 per cent lower.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.03 points at 110.17.


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