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Seoul: Won, stocks ease after winning run; eyes on BOK's intentions

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares, having posted gains over past six days, made a weak start to trade on Thursday, as investors awaited clues for the Bank of Korea's next move after the central bank kept rates unchanged for August.

The won was quoted at 1,096.2 as of 0216 GMT, down 0.1 per cent compared with Wednesday's close of 1,095.4.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.3 per cent at 2,039.22 points.

South Korea's central bank kept interest rates on hold at 1.25 per cent, as it continued to assess the effect of previous policy easing on the struggling economy and eyed when the Federal Reserve might raise US rates.

Market voices on:

"The BOK's decision itself had little impact on the market, but the investors are yet holding their positions, waiting for BOK's comments to see whether it would have another rate cut this year," said Jung Sung Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

Mr Jung added that vice finance minister's comment on the forex market from the prior day and a drop in the share market added to pressure on the won.

South Korea's vice finance minister said on Wednesday the government is monitoring the US dollar-won foreign exchange rate closely after its rise earlier that day.

Offshore investors in the share market were expected to be sellers, having offloaded a net 20.1 billion Korean won (S$24.59 million) worth of Kospi shares by near mid-session.

The sub-index for electricity and gas declined 1.7 per cent with Korea Electric Power Corp down near 2 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 502 to 287.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds lost 0.01 point to 111.09.