* Won gains after dovish Fed Yellen remarks
* Official China PMI report helps stocks recover
By Jungmin Jang
SEOUL, April 1 The South Korean won hit
its strongest level in more than three weeks on Tuesday after
dovish comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen weighed on
the dollar, while stocks erased losses after an upbeat Chinese
The local currency was quoted at 1,060.6 against
the dollar at 0326 GMT, up 0.4 percent from Monday's closing
level of 1,064.7. It traded as high as 1,060.5, the highest
level since March 7.
On Monday, Yellen defended the Federal Reserve's easy-money
policies in her first public speech since becoming Fed chair two
months ago, saying that there remains "considerable" slack in
the economy and job market and that an "extraordinary"
commitment to boosting the economy would be needed for some time
Earlier in the day, a slew of upbeat economic indicators
suggested South Korea's economy continues to recover, adding
support to the won's rise.
"But there wasn't much follow-through trade trying to push
the won higher," a foreign bank dealer said, adding that
investors were wary about potential dollar-buying intervention
by local authorities to slow the pace of the won's appreciation.
In the stock market, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index
(KOSPI) was flat at 1,986.64 points after falling as low
China's official Purchasing Managers' Index increased to
50.3 in March from February's 50.2, in line with economists'
forecasts. A separate private survey on China's March factory
activity, however, fell to an eight-month low, adding to market
expectations of government stimulus.
"The market is doing relatively well, cutting earlier losses
on the back of persistent foreign buying and China's solid
official manufacturing PMI," said Shinyoung Securities analyst
Lee Kyung-soo, adding that local exporters could benefit from
thawing global economies led by the U.S. and China.
Foreign investors purchased a net 34.3 billion won ($32
million) worth of KOSPI shares by midsession, following the
largest amount of net buying since Oct. 23 in the previous
Decliners outnumbered advancers 395 to 368.
Among notable gainers, memory chip maker SK Hynix Inc
advanced 2.6 percent and steelmaker POSCO
added 1.4 percent.
But Samsung SDI Co Ltd fell 2.5 percent as
investors locked in gains from its 6.6 percent jump on Monday,
when SDI had announced it would acquire Cheil Industries Inc
through a share swap.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was flat,
while the junior KOSDAQ rose 1 percent.
0326 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,060.6 1,064.7
Yen/won 10.2682/741 10.3124
*KTB futures 105.71 105.72
KOSPI 1,986.64 1,985.61
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1064.4500 Korean Won)
(Additional reporting by Lee Kyoungho; Editing by Chris