Bloomberg News

Korean Won Completes Fourth Weekly Gain on Inflows; Bonds Rise

February 05, 2012

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s won completed a fourth weekly gain as signs the global economy is recovering spurred capital inflows into the nation’s stocks. Bonds advanced.

The Kospi Index of shares rose 0.4 percent this week as overseas funds bought $1.3 billion more shares than they sold through yesterday, exchange data show. A U.S. report today may show employers boosted payrolls in January by 140,000 workers and the jobless rate held at an almost three-year low of 8.5 percent, according to median estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

“The won is under consistent appreciation pressure with global economy data improving a lot and foreign investors boosting Korean stock purchases,” said Hwang Sun Min, a Seoul- based currency trader at Kookmin Bank.

The won appreciated 0.5 percent this week to 1,118.07 per dollar in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was little changed today after touching 1,115.70, the strongest level since Nov. 9.

The one-year currency swap rate, the rate to exchange payments in won with those in the dollar, rose to 2.51 percent today, the highest since April, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

A Chinese manufacturing index rose faster in January than the median estimate in a separate survey, while a U.S. gauge climbed to a seven-month high, reports showed this week.

Bonds rose before policy makers meet to review borrowing costs next week. The Bank of Korea will hold its benchmark rate at 3.25 percent on Feb. 9, according to 12 of 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. One predicts a cut to 3 percent.

The yield on the government’s 3.5 percent debt due September 2016 fell two basis points this week, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.49 percent, Korea Exchange Inc. prices show. The rate was unchanged today.

--Editors: Sandy Hendry, Anil Varma

To contact the reporter on this story: Jiyeun Lee in Seoul at jlee1029@bloomberg.net

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


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