The South Korean won took a breather early on Tuesday as investors held their positions awaiting fresh clues from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen about the pace of further rate hikes, while shares edged up to a record high. The won stood at 1,136.2 to the dollar as of 0221 GMT, up 0.1 percent from Monday’s close of 1,137.1.
“The Fed is trying to keep with its stance to raise rates once more within this year, but most market watchers are quite doubtful about it since the U.S. economic indicators are falling short of expectations,” said Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures. Jung added unless Yellen can provide fresh hints about rate increase, the dollar would falter again.
Yellen is to set to speak at an event in London later in the global day. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.1 percent at 2,390.08 points, after briefly touching record high of 2,393.02, buoyed by expectations of a strong second quarter. Chipmaker SK Hynix rose 1.2 percent, set for a six-day rally, while Hyundai Motor lost nearly 2 percent.
Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 44.6 billion Korean won ($39.26 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session. Decliners outnumbered advancers 394 to 373. September futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.02 point to 109.41.