During early deals on Thursday, the South Korean won climbed to a 6-day high against the US dollar and the Japanese yen as a rally in global stocks helped revive risk appetite, boosting demand for emerging-market assets.
The stock market in South Korea opened strongly today morning, taking cues from Wall Street, where the major indices gained for the second consecutive day on unexpected positive economic data related to pending home sales, construction spending, and manufacturing activity, fueling expectations that the worst for the global economy might have been over.
On Wednesday, the Dow closed up 153 points or 2.01% at 7,762, the Nasdaq gained 23 points or 1.51% to 1,552, and the S&P 500 added 13 points or 1.66% to finish at 811.
The benchmark KOSPI Index opened today's session at 1,254, notably higher than its previous close of 1,233, and is currently trading at 1,262, up 28.38 points, or 2.30%.
A report released by the National Statistics Office yesterday revealed that South Korea's consumer prices grew at a slower pace in March compared to the same period last year. The consumer price index rose 3.9% during March, lower than the 4.1% rise reported in the same period last year. In comparison to February, the prices rose 0.7%, the report revealed.
In another report, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy revealed that trade surplus for March 2009 reached a record US$4.6 billion, attributing sharp decline in imports and increase in number of ships exported as the primary reason. The report noted that exports declined 21.2% to US$28.3 billion, and imports were down 36% to $23.7 billion
The South Korean won edged higher against the US dollar during early deals on Thursday. At 12:20 am ET, the won reached a 6-day high of 1336.35 against the dollar, compared to 1357.40 hit late New York Wednesday. If the Korean currency moves up further, it may likely target the 1306.6 level.
The South Korean won that closed Wednesday's North American session at 13.9405 against the Japanese yen climbed to 13.5555 at 11:50 pm ET. This set a 6-day high for the won. The next upside target level for the South Korean currency is seen around 13.4.
The yen fell as stock markets in Asia gained today, encouraging investors to increase purchase of higher-yielding assets.
On the economic front, the Bank of Japan said today that the monetary base in Japan was up 6.9% on year in March, standing at 94.46 trillion yen. That's up from 93.65 trillion yen in February, which saw a 6.4% annual increase.
Market participants keenly await the outcome of the G-20 meeting and the market will be closely watching to see what measures they will discuss to fight the global economic crisis.
Across the Atlantic, the Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended March 27th at 8:30 am ET.
The Commerce Department is due to release its report on factory goods orders for February at 10 am ET. Orders for manufactured goods are likely to have decreased 0.3% in the month.
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