South Korean won jumps to 6-month high on Trump healthcare policy fail

The South Korean won sharply rose to a near six-month high early on Monday (March 27).
The South Korean won sharply rose to a near six-month high early on Monday (March 27).PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL (REUTERS) - The South Korean won sharply rose to a near six-month high early on Monday (March 27) as the US dollar was broadly weaker following US President Donald Trump failure to pass a healthcare reform bill raised concerns over his ability to implement policy.

The won stood at 1,113.7 against the dollar as of 10:22am Singapore time, firming 0.8 per cent from the previous close to notch its strongest level since Oct 11, 2016.

"The 1,113 level will be a testing point, but it is highly likely that the won will strengthen past that," said Jung Sung Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

Jung added that local exporters' dollar-selling towards the end of March and expectations that foreign exchange authorities will not intervene in markets ahead of the US Treasury's biannual exchange rate report in April will continue to support the won.

South Korea's finance minister said last week that the possibility of the government being branded a currency manipulator could not be ruled out if the United States changes its criteria.

South Korean shares slumped to a one-week intraday low, affected by US stock markets, which weakened after Trump's failure to reform Obamacare.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.3 per cent at 2,163.37 points, the lowest since March 20.

Offshore investors were set to be small net buyers of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor lost 1.5 per cent while chipmaker SK Hynix rose 2.6 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 493 to 290.