South Korea’s won rallied to its highest level in one week on bets that exporters repatriated profits to meet their month-end debts while global investors purchased net local equities.
The won surged 0.2 percent to end the day at 1,024.55 per dollar in Seoul trade. The currency had earlier hit 1,023.53, its highest level since July 15. Overseas funds purchased a net $161 million of Korean equities on Tuesday, bringing July’s net buys to $2.27 billion.
“Local exporters were selling dollars, and demand for the greenback slowed as the risk-off sentiment following the shooting down of the Malaysian jet eased,” Kim Mijung, a currency trader for Suhyup Bank in Seoul told Bloomberg.
The Kospi Index of stocks closed at its strongest level in 2014 while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index appeared poised to record its best performance since 2008 as anxiety over the shooting of Malaysian Airlines MH17 jet dissipated.
The won’s one-month implied volatility, which measures the expected shifts in the exchange rate used to assign value to options, plunged 23 basis points to steady at 5.66 percent.
The yield on South Korean government bonds that mature on June 2017 fell one basis point in Seoul trade to 2.51 percent, the lowest level since May 2013. The yield on notes that mature on March 2024 remained slightly unchanged at 2.99 percent.
The country’s Finance Minister Choi Kyung Hwan told markets that he will pursue fiscal expansionary policies to reinvigorate the sluggish economy, while the President Park Geun Hye disclosed that the government will publish its revised economy outlook on Thursday. The government should lower its 3.9 percent growth estimate for 2014 by at least 0.2 percentage points, said Choi last week. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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