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Seoul: Won skids to 11-week low as foreign selling intensifies

[SEOUL] The South Korean won fell to its lowest level in more than 11 weeks on Thursday as foreigners continued to sell local shares and government bonds as the US dollar climbs.

The won fell 0.7 per cent to 1,149.1 to the US dollar by the conclusion of onshore trade, from Wednesday's close of 1,140.7. It was the won's weakest closing level since July 11.

The yield of 10-year Treasury bonds jumped 43 basis points to 2.403 per cent, its highest intraday level in more than two years.

On Tuesday and Wednesday alone, foreign investors offloaded about three trillion won (S$3.6 billion) worth of South Korean treasury bonds, according to traders and a government official Offshore investors also unloaded a net 136.6 billion won worth of Korean shares from their portfolios, but the benchmark index ended little changed as other market players mostly held their positions ahead of long holiday break next week.

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The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) closed at 2,373.14 points, up fractionally on the day.

Both South Korea's finance minister and vice-finance minister said the recent selloff in the country's financial markets is probably due to profit-taking or portfolio adjustments, and not closely related to escalating tensions over North Korea.

REUTERS