Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s won jumped to the strongest level since November and government bonds fell as reports showed manufacturing in the world’s biggest economies picked up last month.
The Kospi Index of shares gained 1.7 percent after the U.S. Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index climbed to 54.1 from 53.1 in December, the fastest pace in seven months. A Chinese manufacturing index rose faster than the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey, a separate report yesterday showed. South Korea’s foreign-exchange reserves increased by $4.94 billion to $311.3 billion at the end of January from a month earlier as the euro and pound strengthened against the dollar, the Bank of Korea said today.
“Improving global economic data is supporting the won,” said Jeon Seung Ji, a Seoul-based currency analyst at Samsung Futures Inc. “The won didn’t fall much yesterday even after South Korea’s trade balance turned out to be a deficit, and this signals the market is tilted toward some risk-taking.”
The won gained 0.7 percent to 1,118.20 per dollar as of 9:13 a.m. in Seoul, the strongest since Nov. 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency fell 0.3 percent yesterday after data showed a $2 billion trade deficit for January.
The yield on the government’s 3.5 percent bonds due September 2016 climbed one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 3.49 percent, Korea Exchange Inc. prices show.
--Editor: Sandy Hendry
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