S.Korean stocks, won rally on improving U.S.-China trade relations

    * KOSPI hits near 9-month high
    * Foreigners set to become net buyers for 8th straight
    * Korean won strongest since July 1, 2019 vs dollar
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield rises

    SEOUL, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
** South Korean shares rose on Tuesday after the United States
said China should no longer be designated as a currency
manipulator, raising hopes of further improvement in trade
relations between the two countries. 
** The Korean won strengthened and the benchmark bond yield
** The KOSPI         rose 15.57 points, or 0.70%, to 2,244.83 by
0216 GMT — its highest since mid-April last year. 
** The U.S. Treasury Department's decision to drop the
designation on Monday comes days before top officials of the
world's two largest economies sign a preliminary trade agreement
to ease an 18-month-old tariff dispute.             
** The move is a signal that Sino-U.S. trade talks are on the
right track, HI Investment & Securities' analyst Park Sang-hyun
said, adding that the markets could see more foreign inflows due
to a firmer won.    
** Foreigners were net buyers of 106.9 billion won ($92.74
million) worth of shares on the main board, putting them on
track to be net buyers for eighth straight session. 
** The Korean won rallied to its highest since July 1, 2019
against the dollar, in line with sharp gains in the Chinese
** China's offshore yuan strengthened to a 5-1/2-month high
versus the dollar, supported by rising optimism towards
Sino-U.S. trade developments.             
** The won was quoted at 1,151.6 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.38% higher than its previous
close at 1,156.0.
** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,152.3 per
U.S. dollar, up 0.1% from the previous day, while in
non-deliverable forward trading, its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,150.9 per dollar.
** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
                was up 0.60%, after U.S. stocks closed up
overnight            . Japanese stocks         rose 0.74%.
** The KOSPI is up 2.31% so far this year, and gained 4.8% in
the previous 30 trading sessions.
** The trading volume was 272.63 million shares and, of the
total traded issues of 900, the number of advancing shares was
** The won has gained 0.4% against the dollar so far this year.
** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         fell 0.03 point to 110.30, while the
3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.46%.
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.6
basis point to 1.414%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by
1.7 basis points to 1.749%.

($1 = 1,152.7400 won)

 (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; editing by Uttaresh.V)