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Seoul: Won, stocks steady as risk appetite offsets firm US dollar

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares were steady early on Thursday, as global risk sentiment buoyed by strong US stocks offset continued US dollar strength, while investors held positions ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting.

The won stood at 1,141.8 per US dollar as of 0206 GMT, nearly unchanged from the previous close of 1,141.0.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) also held steady at 2,015.20 points.

Policy decisions from the ECB's July meeting are scheduled to be released later in the global day.

Park Yuna, a foreign exchange analyst at Dongbu Securities, said that current risk appetite is expected to last for a while since key central banks in countries such as Japan are expected to deliver more monetary easing in coming months.

"Even if the ECB holds rates this month, investors expect ECB chief Mario Draghi's comments will signal additional easing, which would support the won," Ms Park added.

Offshore investors were set to be buyers for an 11th straight session, but purchases were modest, netting 6.8 billion won (S$8.10 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Tech firm LG Electronics Inc lost 3.3 per cent while shipping company Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd rose 2.7 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 408 to 358.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.04 point to 111.07.