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Seoul: Won steady, stocks edge up; Fed minutes, US data in focus

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won barely moved early on Tuesday though the US dollar regained strength in the global market as Chinese factory activity picked up more than expected.

Analysts expect that US economic data and Federal Reserve meeting minutes coming up this week will offer some clues about the won's next move.

The won was quoted at 1,206.9 against the US dollar as of 0238 GMT, up 0.1 per cent compared with Monday's close of 1,208.0. It went as low as 1,211.8 at the beginning of the session.

"We will have to see how the Fed is viewing Donald Trump's economic policies and its stance about US inflation and growth in detail so that we could be ready for the won's future movement," said Ha Keon-Hyeong, a foreign exchange analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.

Market voices on:

The Fed will release minutes of its December meeting on Wednesday.

South Korean shares edged up, with selective buying and foreign fund flows supporting the index.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.5 per cent at 2,035.97 points.

Offshore investors were expected to be net buyers, purchasing 70.8 billion Korean won (S$84.97 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.

Tech firm LG Electronics Inc gained 2.9 per cent while steelmaker Posco lost nearly 2 per cent.

Advancers slightly outnumbered decliners by 424 to 374.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 109.63.