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S. Korean won surged more than 8 pct against U.S. dollar in March: data

All Headlines 11:00 April 03, 2016

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean currency soared more than 8 percent against the U.S. dollar last month alone, marking the sharpest gain among major Asian countries, as the U.S. Fed's dovish stance fueled demand for riskier assets, industry data showed Sunday.

In March, the won jumped 8.15 percent against the U.S. greenback, beating 11 major Asian currencies, including the Malaysian ringgit, which gained 7.97 percent over the cited period, the Singaporean dollar with 4.32 percent and the Taiwanese dollar with 3.44 percent, according to the data compiled by Capital Economics, a London-based researching firm.

The won-dollar rate reached 1,143.5 won as of end-March, compared with 1,245.3 won tallied a month earlier.

The British firm said Asian currencies strengthened against the U.S. dollar as investors' sentiment improved on eased concerns about a further Chinese devaluation and a series of hints that the U.S. central bank would hold the key rate at near zero for a while.

It noted that the Australian central bank's earlier announcement to invest some 5 percent of its foreign exchange reserves into the South Korean won also pushed up the currency appreciation.

However, for the first three months of the year, the won's gain against the U.S. dollar stood at 2.54 percent, lagging far behind the ringgit's 10.41 percent and the Russian ruble's 8.55 percent.

It is because of a steep decline in January and February, as the won lost 5.4 percent against the U.S. greenback over the first eight weeks of the year.

Economists expect the won-dollar rate to reach around 1,220 won at the end of the fourth quarter following a possible U.S. rate hike in the second quarter.

brk@yna.co.kr
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