January 18, 2017 / 2:43 AM / a year ago

S.Korea won jumps as Trump overshadows Samsung chief's woes

* Won's upward trend may continue as long as late April
    * Currency unaffected by possibility Samsung Group CEO will
be arrestd
    * KOSPI down, but Samsung Electronics steadies

    SEOUL, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The South Korean won 
rallied on Wednesday as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's
comment that the dollar is too strong resulted in broad pressure
on the greenback.
    The won was quoted at 1,166.0 to the dollar as of
0205 GMT, up 0.7 percent compared to Tuesday's close of 1,174.5.
    The South Korean currency has been unaffected by the
possibility that the head of the Samsung Group, South Korea's
largest conglomerate, could be arrested as a result of the
corruption scandal that last month led to parliament impeach
President Park Geun-hye.
    Accused of bribery, Jay Y. Lee appeared on Wednesday at a
court, where a judge will decide whether to grant the country's
special prosecutor a warrant for the arrest of the Samsung Group
    As elsewhere, domestic factors were trumped by the advent of
a new U.S. administration.
    "Trump's inauguration on Friday will be the biggest event in
the global market for the time being. The U.S. dollar is likely
to get weaker against a basket of currencies until as late as
the end of April," said Kim Doo-un, a foreign exchange analyst
at Hana Futures.
     A sell-off in the dollar deepened in international markets
after U.S. traders returned from a long weekend after Martin
Luther King Jr Day and reacted to Trump's weekend comments. In
an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said U.S.
companies "can't compete with (China) now because our currency
is strong and it's killing us."
    South Korean shares were flat as the Wall Street slumped on
concerns over potential risks posed by Trump's protectionist
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
slightly down at 2,071.64 points.
    Having dropped earlier in the week on the case against Lee,
Samsung Electronics was steadied by 0.5 percent in
morning trade on Wednesday.
    Offshore investors were poised to be small net sellers of
KOSPI shares near mid-session.
    Tech firm LG Electronics gained 2.5 percent
while Korea Electric Power Corp lost 1.1 percent.
    Decliners outnumbered advancers 418 to 342.
    March futures on three-year treasury bonds lost 0.04
point to 109.64. 
                       0205 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,166.0       1,174.5
 Yen/won             10.3123/04       10.2959
 *KTB futures            109.60        109.64
 KOSPI                 2,071.64      2,071.87
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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