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S.Korean won falls to 3-1/2 wk low on rate cut pressure; shares inch up
February 2, 2015 / 2:36 AM / 3 years ago

S.Korean won falls to 3-1/2 wk low on rate cut pressure; shares inch up

* Won falls as raft of c.bank easing heighten BOK rate cut
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    * Shares up by a whisker, oil rebound buoys energy counters

    By Joonhee Yu
    SEOUL, Feb 2 (Reuters) - The South Korean won slid to
its lowest intraday level in three-and-a-half weeks on Monday,
with risk appetite dented by  downbeat economic data from the
U.S. and China.
    The won was trading at 1,100.0 to the dollar as
of 0210 GMT, compared to 1,093.5 quoted at the end of Friday's
session.
    A survey on Monday showed China's factory activity
unexpectedly shrank for the first time in more than two years in
January, following data showing a rapid deceleration in U.S.
economic growth during the fourth quarter.  
    Analysts say the prospects of additional stimulus measures
in China amid a recent string of unexpected easing moves by
major central banks around the globe are adding more pressure on
the Bank of Korea to jump on the bandwagon by cutting its own
interest rates. 
    On the domestic data front, South Korea's current account
surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted $7.66 billion in December
from a revised $9.64 billion in November. 
    South Korean shares drifted up on Monday morning, finding
support from hefty gains in commodity-linked sectors as oil
prices rebounded sharply from six-year lows.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.05 percent at 1,950.14 points as of 0210 GMT.
    Energy and petrochemical stocks rallied, with SK Innovation
 surging 5.3 percent and LG Chem gaining
4 percent.
    The oil rebound hurt airlines, however, on expectations of
rising jet fuel costs, with flag carrier Korean Air 
slumping 2.6 percent and Asiana Airlines sliding 3.4
percent. 
    Hyundai Securities shares were up 1.2 percent
after Japan's Orix Corp was selected as the preferred
bidder for a controlling stake in the South Korean brokerage,
worth an estimated 1 trillion won ($909.3
million). 
    The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down
0.16 percent while the junior, small-cap dominated KOSDAQ
 edged up 0.21 percent.
    March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 3
basis points to trade at 108.74. 
    
                       0210 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,100.0       1,093.5
 Yen/won             9.3520/664        9.3777
 *KTB futures            108.74        108.71
 KOSPI                 1,950.14      1,949.26
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

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