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(LEAD) BOK chief says uncertainties grow over U.S.-China trade talks

All News 10:24 May 10, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS statement, currency rate in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) -- The head of South Korea's central bank said Friday that uncertainties grew over the prospects for trade talks between the United States and China as U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to follow through on a plan to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods.

Bank of Korea (BOK) Gov. Lee Ju-yeol said, however, that financial authorities will closely monitor the U.S.-China trade talks and spare no efforts to stabilize the nation's financial markets.

"It is a fact that uncertainties grew over U.S.-China trade negotiations," Lee said at a meeting on financial and economic conditions. "However, we need to calmly watch because there is an expectation that the two nations will continue efforts to strike a deal."

China has warned it would retaliate if the U.S. goes ahead with the plan to increase tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

South Korea's main KOSPI index sank more than 3 percent on Thursday over fears of a full-blown trade war between the U.S. and China.

The KOSPI index opened higher on Friday as investors hope for positive results from the trade talks between the U.S. and China, which are underway in Washington.

(LEAD) BOK chief says uncertainties grow over U.S.-China trade talks - 1

In a statement, the BOK said investor sentiment in global financial markets was hurt by the escalation of the trade conflict between the U.S. and China.

South Korea's won currency hit a two-year low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday over the U.S.-China trade friction.

The won was quoted at 1,178 won per U.S. dollar on Friday's opening, up 1.8 won from the previous session. But the won lost ground, and at one point, the won was at 1,181.4 won to the dollar, its lowest level since Jan. 19, 2017.


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