* Won opens up more than 1 pct
* Won's upward trend to continue till mid-April -analyst
* KOSPI notches 23-mth intraday high
SEOUL, March 16 The South Korean won
surged more than 1 percent to an over two-week intraday high
early on Thursday as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's
comments suggested a more gradual pace of monetary tightening
this year than many had expected.
The Fed raised interest rates on Wednesday for the second
time in three months, a move spurred by steady economic growth,
strong job gains and confidence that inflation is rising to the
central bank's target.
The won was quoted at 1,133.6 as of 0232 GMT,
after reaching its strongest level since Feb. 28.
The South Korean government said it will act to stabilise
markets if needed after the won and other key currencies firmed
following the Fed's decision to hike rates.
South Korean shares also rose as much as 1.12 percent, with
the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) touching
its the highest level since April 28, 2015 at 2,156.85.
"Considering the won's jump today, there may be a correction
after the United States' budget plan is announced," said Kim
Doo-un, a foreign exchange analyst at Hana Financial Investment.
A budget plan for fiscal 2018 from U.S. President Donald
Trump's administration will be out later in the day.
Kim added that despite a sharp fall, the local currency is
expected to regain and continue its uptrend until mid-April.
Offshore investors were set to be net buyers for a ninth
straight session, purchasing 135.7 billion won ($119.77 million)
worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 450 to 342.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics rose 1.5 percent,
while steelmaker Posco gained more than 4 percent.
March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained
0.18 point to 109.58.
0232 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,133.6 1,143.6
Yen/won 9.9938/000 9.9428
*KTB futures 109.58 109.40
KOSPI 2,145.75 2,133.00
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
(Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Sunil Nair)