S.Korean won falls to near 2-1/2 mth low, stocks steady

Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:20pm EDT

* Won falls to lowest intraday level since late April
    * Comments by finmin, c.bank gov weigh on won, China GDP
supports

    SEOUL, July 16 (Reuters) - The South Korean won fell
early on Wednesday after comments from the country's finance
minister and central bank governor increased expectations of a
rate cut, although slightly better-than-expected China growth
data erased some losses. 
    The local currency was quoted at 1,033.1 as of
0302 GMT, 0.55 percent down from Tuesday's domestic close of
1,027.4. It touched 1,036.1, the won's weakest level since April
28.
    As expectations of monetary expansion grow, "foreign
investors are buying dollars," a dealer at a bank in Seoul said.
    South Korea's new finance minister and its central bank
governor both highlighted weakness in Asia's fourth-largest
economy on Wednesday, adding to market expectations that an
interest rate cut could be in the offing. 
    The won found support soon after the comments, however,
after China reported economic growth just ahead of market
expectations. The world's second biggest economy expanded by an
annual 7.5 percent in the second quarter. 
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
nearly flat early Wednesday, and was quoted at 2,010.89 points
as of 0302 GMT, down 0.1 percent from Tuesday's close at
2,012.72.
    Foreign investors purchased a net 61 billion Korean won
($59.1 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.
    Decliners outnumbered advancers 520 to 265.  
    Steelmaker POSCO rose 2.7 percent as it
considers selling as much as 49 percent of its liquefied natural
gas (LNG) terminal in Gwangyang, South Korea, according to a
company official. 
    Naver Corp, South Korea's major search engine
and SNS service provider, fell 3.4 percent despite announcing
its mobile messaging app subsidiary LINE Corp applied for an
initial public offering in Tokyo. 
    Lead September futures on three-year treasury bonds 
ticked up 0.06 percent.
    
                       0302 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won            1,033.1       1,027.4
 Yen/won           10.1533/583       10.0969
 *KTB futures           106.82        106.76
 KOSPI                2,010.89      2,012.72
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Reporting by Lydia Lim and Yena Park; Editing by Richard
Borsuk)
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