During early deals on Wednesday, the South Korean won declined to a 6-day low against the US dollar and the Japanese yen as a fall in Asian stocks prices reduced demand for emerging-market assets.

The major markets across Asia-Pacific region are trading lower today, taking cues from Wall Street where the major indices declined for the second consecutive day as traders expressed some anxiety about the upcoming earning season and stocks' ability to sustain the recent upward move in light of expectations of weak quarterly results.

In Seoul, the benchmark KOSPI Index opened today's session at 1,285, lower than its previous close of 1,300, and is currently trading at 1,272, down 28.35 points, or 2.24%.

A report released by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the Korea Plant Industries Association revealed that industrial plant orders plunged 61.3% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2009 to US$ 4.9 billion from US$11.2 billion reported last year, as businesses and government tightened spending amid the global economic crisis.

The South Korean won that Tuesday's North American session at 1318.60 against the dollar declined to a 6-day low of 1362.10 during Asian deals on Wednesday. On the downside, 1391.3 is seen as the next target level for the Korean currency.

The South Korean won traded down against the Japanese yen during early deals on Wednesday. At 12:05 am ET, the won declined to a 6-day low of 13.5715 against the yen, compared to Tuesday's closing value of 13.1265. The next downside target level for the South Korean currency is seen around 13.9.

The current account balance in Japan swung to a surplus in February, the Ministry of Finance said in a preliminary report today, coming in at 1.116 trillion yen.

That's down 55.6 percent on year, even though it beat expectations for a surplus of 1.071 trillion yen following the record 172.8 billion yen shortfall in January. The current account surplus was 125.4 billion yen in December, 581.2 billion yen in November and 960.5 billion yen in October.

Across the Atlantic, the Commerce Department is due to release its wholesale inventories report at 10 am ET. Economists expect wholesale inventories at the end of February to show a 0.6% decline.

The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum inventory report at 10:30 am ET.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes of its March 17th-18th meeting at 2 pm ET.

Along with an announcement to keep interest rates unchanged at exceptionally low levels following its two-day FOMC meeting in March, the Fed said it would purchase $300 billion worth of longer-term securities over the next 6 months. Additionally, the Fed said it will buy an incremental $750 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities and $100 billion of government sponsored enterprises - GSE debt. The Fed also said it intends to add $100 billion to its purchases of agency debt.

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