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S.Korea won up at 3-1/2-mth high as dollar hit by tax reform doubts; stocks slip
February 24, 2017 / 3:03 AM / 9 months ago

S.Korea won up at 3-1/2-mth high as dollar hit by tax reform doubts; stocks slip

    * Won could possibly firm through 1,130 in near term
    * KOSPI set to snap 4-day gaining streak

    SEOUL, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The South Korean won        rose
to a 3-1/2-month high on Friday, and was on track for a fourth
consecutive day of gains as the dollar pulled back on perceived
lack of progress on the Trump administration's promised tax
    The won            stood at 1,132.6 against the dollar as of
0254 GMT, up 0.4 percent compared with Thursday's close of
1,137.3. It reached as high as 1,131.7, its strongest level
since November 9, 2016.
     New U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox
Business Network that any policy steps the Trump administration
takes would likely have a limited impact this year and told CNBC
that he wanted to see tax reform passed before Congress' August
    That was in line with comments by other politicians over the
past month, but disappointed some investors expecting a quicker 
timeline on tax reforms.
    "What Mnuchin said yesterday disappointed investors who were
betting on a strong dollar," said Paik Seokhyun, an analyst at
Shinhan Bank.
    He said the won could possibly strengthen past the 1,130
level soon as the dollar may remain relatively quiet in the near
     South Korean shares were set to snap four straight sessions
of gains on selling by foreign investors and local institutions.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)         was
down 0.7 percent at 2,097.43 points.
    Offshore investors offloaded 30.3 billion won ($26.75
million)worth of KOSPI shares, while institutions sold 10
billion Korean won worth near mid-session.
    The sub-index for electric and electronics shares fell
nearly 2 percent as market heavy Samsung Electronics            
dropped 1.9 percent and SK Hynix             more than 4
    Samsung said earlier on Friday it will strengthen controls
for financial support made to third-parties, after its vice
chairman was arrested in a graft scandal that could topple South
Korea's president.             
    Decliners outnumbered advancers 461 to 321.
    March futures on three-year treasury bonds         gained
0.04 point to 109.53. 
                       0254 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,132.6       1,137.3
 Yen/won             10.0240/62       10.0523
 *KTB futures            109.53        109.49
 KOSPI                 2,091.53      2,107.63
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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