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South Korea’s benchmark Kospi has traded through the 2,100 point mark for the first time since 2015.
Up 1.1 per cent today, the Kospi was trading around its highest level since mid-2015.
The benchmark is up 4 per cent so far this year, with a strong showing from exporters that have benefited from a recovery in global growth. Data this morning showed imports and exports so far in February logged their strongest growth since 2011.
Some of the country’s biggest companies by market capitalisation, including steelmaker Posco, SK Hynix and Lotte Chemical, have hit 52-week highs so far this month. Samsung Electronics, the market’s biggest stock, hit a record high in late January.
Analysts at DBS this week noted that the Kospi has held up well this year, adding: “investor sentiment was supported, thanks to the prospects of an early election and post-election economic recovery.”
The KRW appreciated some 5% versus the USD so far this year, the best performer in Asia. This could be attributed to the correction in the dollar and the shift in market focus towards Korea’s strong trade/current account balance. FX volatility is likely to remain high in the near term, given investors’ optimism about Trump stimulus and on the other hand, worries about US-Asia trade/currency disputes.
The won was 0.1 per cent stronger today at Won1,146.80 per dollar.
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