February 12, 2015 / 2:20 AM / 3 years ago

S.Korean won slides to five-week low on weakening yen; shares lower

* Won lowest since Jan 6 as weak yen highlights intervention
risk
    * Shares fall as Greece, euro zone fail to agree on debt
terms

    By Joonhee Yu
    SEOUL, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The South Korean won was
driven to a five-week low against the dollar on Thursday, as
weakness in the yen raised the spectre of intervention by
financial authorities to keep the won's strength in check
against the Japanese currency.
    The won was quoted at 1,106.2 to the dollar as of
0150 GMT, compared to 1,097.7 at Wednesday's close.
    The yen/won cross rate was seen at 9.2129,
maintaining a slender gap above 9.1, the widely perceived danger
threshold.
    The greenback has been bolstered in recent sessions by a
stellar jobs report as well as hawkish comments from a top U.S.
Federal Reserve official, which have combined to reinforce
expectations of a Fed rate hike in mid-2015.
    "Although profit-taking and exporter demand could help pare
some losses, the won is likely to stay above the 1,100 level
with the yen falling past 120 to the dollar," said Hong
Seok-chan, an FX strategist at Daishin Economic Research
Institute.
    South Korean shares fell on Thursday, tracking declines in
their regional peers, as investors were unsettled by the lack of
discernible progress in bailout talks between Greece and its
debt-holders.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.5 percent at 1,936.87 points as of 0150 GMT.
    Energy counters underperformed after oil prices fell as much
as 3 percent overnight, with SK Innovation sliding
2.3 percent while S-Oil fell 1.9 percent.
    Korea Gas Corp plunged 4.6 percent after the
state utility reported a 31.9 percent decline in profits during
the fourth quarter, well below street forecasts.
    Offshore investors weighed on the index, having sold a net
58.2 billion won ($52.6 million) worth of shares on the main
bourse by mid-morning.
    Defensive plays such as telecom stocks were one of few
winners on the main board, with SK Telecom gaining
2.3 percent while LG Uplus climbed 2.2 percent.
    The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks fell 0.7
percent while the junior, tech-heavy KOSDAQ shed 0.1
percent.
    March futures on three-year treasury bonds was
trading 4 basis points lower at 108.42. 
    
                       0150 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,106.2       1,097.7
 Yen/won             9.2129/177        9.1903
 *KTB futures            108.43        108.46
 KOSPI                 1,936.87      1,945.70
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)

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