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Seoul: Won weakens slightly on US dollar strength; stocks shaky

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won weakened slightly in early trading on Wednesday, as a stronger US dollar offset support from positive economic data from Asia's leading economies.

The won was quoted at 1,208.3 to the US dollar as of 0254 GMT, down 0.4 per cent compared to Tuesday's close of 1,203.5.

"The US is not the one and only country that is growing. South Korea's exports have been showing signs of recovery, China's factory activity picked up yesterday and Japan's economic data released today also was very positive," said Jung Sung-Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

Positive global economic data should help boost risk appetite, limiting the US dollar's gain against the local currency to below 1,210, Mr Jung said.

Market voices on:

South Korean shares wobbled as domestic institutions sold shares, offsetting foreign and selective buying.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was at 2,043.98 points, little changed from the previous close.

Offshore investors were set to be buyers for six consecutive sessions, purchasing a net 58.6 billion Korean won (S$70.33 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Web portal Naver Corp gained more than 3 per cent on hopes of its positive fourth-quarter earnings.

Chipmaker SK Hynix Inc lost 1.6 per cent.

Decliners and advancers were almost even by 398 versus 387.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.01 point to 109.62.