* KOSPI hits near 9-month high * Foreigners set to become net buyers for 8th straight session * 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 markets: ** 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 rose. ** 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 yuan. ** 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 453. ** 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)
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