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UPDATE 1-S.Korea won firm after Fed rate hike, will act if needed: vice finmin
March 16, 2017 / 1:05 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-S.Korea won firm after Fed rate hike, will act if needed: vice finmin

2 Min Read

* Vice finmin says needs time to watch mkts before taking action

* BOK also holds meeting, will cooperate with govt in calming mkts (Updates with more details, market open)

By Christine Kim

SEOUL, March 16 (Reuters) - The South Korean government will act to stabilise markets if needed, the country's vice finance minister said on Thursday, after the won and other key currencies firmed following the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to hike interest rates.

Vice Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok said, however, the government needed more time to assess the volatility in markets before acting to stabilise them.

The won opened up 1.2 percent against the dollar on Thursday, but flows were holding steady nearly an hour into morning trade.

South Korean shares were also boosted after the Fed rate hike, trading up 0.79 percent to 2,149.82 points as of 0057 GMT. It earlier hit a intraday high of 2,156.85, the highest since late April 2015.

The Fed on Wednesday decided to raise U.S. interest rates for the second time in three months as it perceived the world's largest economy had improved.

"Trade in the won is expected to be stable after firming," said Kim Doo-un, a foreign exchange analyst at Hana Financial Investment. "In the short-term, it will be notable whether it breaks through the 1,120 won level."

Kim added market players have already shifted their focus to U.S. President Donald Trump's budget plan for fiscal 2018.

The Bank of Korea also agreed that current market movements need close attention after a separate meeting on the Fed's decision, saying it could cooperate with the government in order to calm markets should they need to do so.

Meanwhile, the government will prepare measures to aid in preventing household-debt related troubles by the end of June, at a meeting with other government, financial authorities to discuss the impact of the Fed's decision. (Editing by Randy Fabi)

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