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South Korea: Stocks fall on renewed Sino-US trade friction; won steady

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index weakened on Thursday as the US administration increased pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 per cent tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The Korean won remained steady, while bond yields slipped.

At 0215 GMT, the Kospi was down 16.66 points or 0.72 per cent at 2,290.41. 

The won was quoted at 1,119.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.08 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,120.6. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,120.75 per US dollar, down 0.2 percent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,103.65 per dollar.

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While the US Federal Reserve left the interest rates untouched, it still remained on course for an expected interest rate hike in September. Fed's decision did not affect South Korean market, as it did not have remarkable changes to reflect market momentum.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said President Donald Trump directed the increase from a previously proposed 10 per cent duty because China has refused to meet US demands and has imposed retaliatory tariffs on US goods.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.74 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with losses. Japanese stocks weakened 0.34 per cent.

The Kospi lost around 6.5 per cent so far this year, and slipped 2.40 per cent in the previous 30 days.  The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the dividend yield is 1.28 per cent and the market capitalisation is 1,242.04 trillion won.

The trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 159,235,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 890, the number of advancing shares was 311. Foreigners were net sellers of 8,198 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.1 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2, 2018, and low is 1,140.4 on July 19, 2018.

REUTERS