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Seoul: Won jumps to 6-mth high on Trump healthcare policy fail
[SEOUL] The South Korean won sharply rose to a near six-month high early on Monday as the dollar was broadly weaker following US President Donald Trump failure to pass a healthcare reform bill raised concerns over his ability to implement policy.
The won stood at 1,113.7 against the US dollar as of 0222 GMT, firming 0.8 per cent from the previous close to notch its strongest level since October 11 2016.
"The 1,113 level will be a testing point, but it is highly likely that the won will strengthen past that," said Jung Sung Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.
Mr Jung added that local exporters' US dollar-selling towards the end of March and expectations that foreign exchange authorities will not intervene in markets ahead of the US Treasury's biannual exchange rate report in April will continue to support the won.
South Korea's finance minister said last week that the possibility of the government being branded a currency manipulator could not be ruled out if the United States changes its criteria.
South Korean shares slumped to a one-week intraday low, affected by US stock markets, which weakened after Mr Trump's failure to reform Obamacare.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.3 per cent at 2,163.37 points, the lowest since March 20.
Offshore investors were set to be small net buyers of Kospi shares near mid-session.
Automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor lost 1.5 per cent while chipmaker SK Hynix rose 2.6 per cent.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 493 to 290.
June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.09 point to 109.48.