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Seoul: Won, stocks ease as US dollar strengthens

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares eased on Friday as expectations for a positive US jobs report and a drop in global oil prices lifted the US dollar, pressuring riskier assets.

The won was quoted at 1,159.2 as of 0223 GMT, down 0.4 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,154.6.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.7 per cent at 1,959.99 points.

"Since there is no other market momentum for now, investors are all eyeing the US employment data coming out later in the global day," said Jeong My Young, a foreign exchange analyst at Samsung Futures.

Mr Jeong said that even if the jobs report is better-than-expected, it likely would not persuade the Federal Reserve to raise rates in September and thus have limited impact on the won in the coming week.

Both the won and stocks were set to decline on a weekly basis.

Offshore investors were poised to be sellers, offloading a net 61.6 billion Korean won (S$71.79 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose one per cent, while steelmaker Posco lost 2.2 per cent.

Decliners far outnumbered advancers 635 to 163.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.01 point to 111.14.