* Dollar buying intervention by authorities suspected -
* KOSPI weighed by soft China export data
SEOUL, April 10 The South Korean won hit
its strongest level in almost six years on Thursday morning,
buoyed by demand from exporters for settlements and stop-loss
dollar selling from offshore funds while local stocks were
The local currency was quoted at 1,035.5 against
the dollar as of 0252 GMT, up 0.6 percent from Wednesday's
onshore close at 1,041.4.
However, the won's gains were tempered by suspected dollar
buying by South Korean foreign exchange authorities to curb the
rapid pace of the currency's appreciation and as South Korea's
new central bank chief said it was watching foreign exchange
markets for excessive moves on herd behaviour.
"Despite the strong dollar-short bids from offshore funds,
suspected bids by the local authorities helped form resistance
to stop further appreciation in the won," a currency dealer
Earlier in the session, the won climbed as high as 1,031.4
against the dollar, its strongest since Aug. 12, 2008,
prompting a senior finance ministry official to warn about the
spike in the value of the won.
In the stock market, Seoul shares erased their early gains
as weaker-than-expected Chinese export data offset positive
leads from Wall Street.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
flat at 1,998.61 points as of 0252 GMT after scaling as high as
2,008.98, its strongest since Jan. 2.
China's exports fell for the second straight month in March,
underscoring concerns about weak manufacturing in the world's
Shares in Wall Street rose more than 1 percent overnight
after the latest minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy
meeting suggested the Fed may be more cautious towards raising
interest rates than markets had previously thought.
Heavyweight exporters faced sell-off pressures due to the
local currency's rapid strength, as investors turned wary over
weakening price competitiveness in overseas market. Automakers
Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp
dropped 1.9 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Autoparts maker Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd declined
Foreign investors net purchased 67.3 billion won ($64.6
million) worth of KOSPI shares near the mid-session, headed for
their 12th straight session of net buying.
June futures on three-year treasury bonds ticked
down 0.04 percent to 105.76.
0252 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,035.5 1,041.4
Yen/won 10.1599/649 10.2083
*KTB futures 105.76 105.80
KOSPI 1,998.61 1,998.95
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1041.4500 Korean Won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Additional reporting by Yena Park;
Editing by Jacqueline Wong)