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BOK to hold emergency meeting on Mideast tensions

Finance 11:20 January 08, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's central bank will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to check the country's financial stability amid the escalating military tensions in the Middle East that are apparently prompting investors to seek safer assets.

The meeting comes as the local currency plunged by almost 1 percent against the U.S. dollar, while the local stock index plunged more than 1 percent.

The won was trading at 1,174.25 won per dollar as of 11:10 a.m., down 7.85 won from the previous session's close.

The won's plunge came after Iran's state media confirmed a series of missile attacks against U.S. military bases in Iraq in retaliation against the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general late last week.

Global stock markets fluctuated after the United States said it had killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, in a drone attack.

Washington has warned of additional strikes against multiple Iranian targets in case of retaliation by the Middle Eastern country.

Seoul's Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki earlier said the government will intervene if necessary, but insisted it was too soon to determine such a need.

"In the case of any abnormal situation, the government will cope with the situation in line with contingency plans," Hong told a meeting of economy-related ministers held earlier in the day.

"It is still too early to determine if the Iran situation has directly led to the increased volatility in the foreign exchange and stock markets," he was quoted as saying.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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