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South Korea: Stocks inch up, won steady awaiting China tariff deadline

[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index inched higher on Wednesday as optimism over the US-Mexico trade deal was quickly replaced by caution just a week ahead of the next deadline on China tariffs. The Korean won remained steady while bond yields rose.

While the United States and Mexico agreed on Monday to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), Canada rejoined Nafta talks on Tuesday, under pressure to agree to new terms on auto trade and dispute settlement rules to remain part of the three-nation pact.

At 01:56 GMT, the Kospi was up 1.53 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 2,304.65. The won was quoted at 1,109.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.04 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,110.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,109.9 per US dollar, down 0.23 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,092.75 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.07 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.31 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 6.7 per cent so far this year, and up by 0.05 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 106,056,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 892, the number of advancing shares was 426. Foreigners were net sellers of 13,712 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 4.08 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 and low is 1,140.4 on July 19.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.04 points to 108.68.

The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.976 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.97 per cent.