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Seoul bourse operator to seek extension of trading hours

All News 11:39 January 21, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- The operator of South Korea's stock market said Thursday that it will seek to extend the trading hours of the Seoul bourse, a move widely seen as part of efforts to include the country's stock index in the list of developed markets.

Korea Exchange (KRX) Chairman Choi Kyung-soo said he will seek to extend the trading hours by at least 30 minutes.

"There is a growing need to globalize the South Korean stock market by overlapping its trading hours with those of other Asian markets, which will require an extension of its own trading hours," he told a press briefing.

Currently, the local stock market is open six hours between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., significantly shorter than the average 8 to 9-hour operating hours of other major markets, the KRX explained.

An extension of stock market hours may lead to an extension of those of the country's foreign exchange market, which is currently pegged to the stock market.

The relatively short operating hours of the currency market has long been cited as a major reason for the country's failure to be included in the top-tier developed market index of Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI).

South Korea was put on a shortlist of countries for possible inclusion in the MSCI developed market index in 2008, but was excluded six years later.

The Financial Services Commission, which governs the country's financial market, earlier said it will seek to rejoin the review list.

"The KRX will actively seek to extend its trading hours while maximizing the benefits of such an extension and minimizing any additional burden for workers," Choi said.

As one of the main objectives for the year, the KRX will seek to turn itself into a holding company, a move that will boost competition among its market operators and thus improve customer services, according to Choi.

It will also work to increase initial public offerings (IPOs) after the number of IPOs reached the 13-year high of 190 in 2015.

The KRX said it also expected a great surge in the number of foreign companies to be listed on the local market this year, adding it has recently formed a task force to attract the top-ranking firms of southeast Asian countries.

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