The South Korean won and shares eased on Thursday in line with global market weakness, but losses were capped by strong export data. The won was quoted at 1,119.7 against the dollar as of 0220 GMT, almost unchanged versus Wednesday’s close of 1,119.5. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.2 percent at 2,343.39 points. South Korea’s exports grew at a double-digit pace in May, expanding for the seventh consecutive month on strong world demand and suggesting the trade-reliant economy is picking up momentum.
“With a slight drop in global oil prices and weaker Wall Street combined, investment sentiment seems to have subdued, pressuring the local currency market. Firm export data is preventing further losses, though,” said Paik Seokhyun, a foreign exchange analyst at Shinhan Bank. Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 37.9 billion Korean won ($33.85 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.
Shares of E-Mart Inc rose as much as 2.3 percent to its highest price level in almost 2 years, after the company said it will close its stores in China after 20 years in the country, blaming ongoing losses. Automobile manufacturer Kia Motors rose nearly 2 percent while steelmaker Posco lost over 2 percent. Decliners outnumbered advancers 506 to 290. June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.05 point to 109.58.