April 29, 2014 / 2:55 AM / 3 years ago

S.Korea won hits near 6-year high, stocks ease to 1-mth low

3 Min Read

* Won touches near six-year high, wary of intervention
    * KOSPI reverses initial gains, brushes 1-month low

    SEOUL, April 29 (Reuters) - The South Korean won 
inched higher and briefly hit its strongest level in nearly six
years on Tuesday morning, favoured  by exporters selling dollars
for month-end settlements and March's upbeat current account
    The local currency was quoted at 1,031.4 versus
the dollar as of 0220 GMT, up 0.3 percent from Monday's onshore
close at 1,035.0. It rose as high as 1,030.6 per dollar, the
strongest since setting 1,030.0 on Aug. 12, 2008.
    "The won is expected to show a gradual rise in the near term
as persistent current account surpluses and firm demand from
exporters and offshore funds outweigh the downside risks," said
Woori Futures analyst Son Eun-jung, referring to events such as
the Federal Reserve's policy meeting and a key U.S. nonfarm
payroll data due later in the week, which are likely to bolster
the greenback.
    South Korea's bullish March current account data also
supported the won. The Asia's fourth-largest economy extended
its string of surpluses to a 34th month in March on a seasonally
adjusted basis, central bank data showed on Tuesday.
    Woori's Son, however, said the caution over intervention by
local foreign exchange authorities, as well as a potential
hawkish comment by the Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hamper a
sharp rise in the local currency.
    Local stocks reversed their initial gains in the morning,
with the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) down
0.4 percent at 1,962.25 points as of 0220 GMT, touching its
weakest level since March 26.
    Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 
dropped 2.1 percent after reporting a 3.3 percent fall in first
quarter operating profit to 8.5 trillion won ($8.2 billion),
still above market forecasts of 8.4 trillion. 
    Steelmaker POSCO gained 2.7 percent after saying
in a regulatory filing on early Tuesday it was considering a
restructure to improve its financial health.
    Media reports said earlier that POSCO was considering
selling a stake in its trading and resources arm Daewoo
International Corp, which it had brought in 2010,
for 3.37 trillion won. Daewoo International
stocks plunged 4.7 percent.
    Meanwhile, Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd advanced 3.7
percent after its shareholders on Tuesday approved reformation
in corporate governance structure. Affiliate Hanjin Shipping
Holdings Co Ltd rose to the daily limit of 15

                      0220 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won            1,031.4       1,035.0
 Yen/won           10.0585/654       10.0946
 *KTB futures           105.78        105.77
 KOSPI                1,962.25      1,969.26
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1035.1500 Korean Won)

 (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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