Bloomberg News

Korea Won Climbs to Three-Year High on Global Recovery Optimism

July 08, 2011

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s won climbed to its highest level in almost three years after companies in the U.S. added twice as many workers as forecast in June, shoring up confidence the global economic recovery will be sustained.

The currency gained for a third week against the dollar after Finance Minister Bahk Jae Wan said two days ago that the local economy was expected to expand faster in the second half of 2011 than in the first six months. The current-account surplus probably widened in June from May on an increase in the trade surplus, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a monthly economic report yesterday.

“The won started off on a very strong note amid signs that the global economy is expanding,” said Hwang Sun Min, a Seoul- based currency dealer with Kookmin Bank, the nation’s largest lender. “The won’s upward momentum will continue.”

The won closed 0.7 percent higher at 1,057.08 per dollar as of the 3 p.m. close in Seoul, contributing to a 0.9 percent weekly advance, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s gained 6.4 percent this year and today touched 1,056.44, the strongest level since August 2008.

The current-account surplus reached a seven-month high of $2.26 billion in May, according to the central bank. The indicator is the broadest measure of trade, tracking goods, services and investment income. U.S. employers added 157,000 workers to their payrolls in June, more than double the 70,000 forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey, according to figures released yesterday by ADP Employer Services.

International investors bought $1.18 billion more Korean shares than they sold this week through yesterday, according to exchange data. Gross domestic product is expected to rise 5 percent in the second half from a year earlier after increasing 3.9 percent in the first, the finance ministry said on June 30.

Government bonds declined today, pushing yields to the highest level since May 11. The rate on the 4 percent notes due March 2016 rose four basis points to 4.07 percent, according to prices from Korea Exchange Inc. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

--Editors: James Regan, Simon Harvey

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyoungwha Kim in Singapore at kkim19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry at shendry@bloomberg.net


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