The South Korean won was flat in early trade on Tuesday after briefly touching a 16-week low as the dollar gained strength overnight, even as the market largely shrugged off a missile launch by North Korea. North Korea launched a ballistic missile from its western region into the sea off its east coast ahead of a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 countries in Germany later this week.
The won stood at 1,147.6 against the dollar as of 0207 GMT, down 0.1 percent compared with Monday’s close of 1,146.9. It fell to as low as 1,150.0 at the start of trade, the weakest intraday level since March 15. “As the won is already at around near four-month low, the investors will trade cautiously while waiting for the release of Federal Reserve’s June meeting minutes and the U.S. jobs data coming this week,” said Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.
The Fed minutes are due on Wednesday, while the jobs data will be out on July 7. South Korean shares were little changed, with the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at 2,393.27. Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 68.2 billion won ($59.43 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.
Automobile shares slumped due to weak June sales, with the transportation equipment sub-index posting a 2 percent drop. Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp fell as much as 3.7 pct and 2.7 pct, respectively. Decliners outnumbered advancers 453 to 309. September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.06 point to 109.22.