South Korea stocks start year at record high on chip, auto boost

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Seoul, Jan. 4, 2021 South Korean shares touched a record high as it began trading in 2021, driven by major heavyweights, as more investors bet on a swifter economic recovery.

The won hit its strongest level since mid-June 2018, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

The KOSPI soared 58.72 points, or 2.04 per cent, to 2,932.19 by 0245 GMT, set for a sixth straight gain, after ending 2020 up 30.8 per cent.

South Korea’s exports expanded at their fastest pace in 26 months in December, on robust chip demand and improved global demand, providing additional signals that the recovery is on track despite resurgences in the novel coronavirus.

Chip giants, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, surged as much as 4.2 per cent and 5.9 per cent to their record highs.

Shares of Hyundai Motor Co., the nation’s biggest carmaker, surged to a near four-year high, while its affiliates also jumped on hopes for electric vehicle (EV) boost this year.

South Korean battery maker, SK Innovation’s shares soared as much as 15.5 per cent to their highest since October 2018 on a bullish outlook for EV battery demand and hopes for its construction of a battery factory in Georgia.

Foreigners were net sellers of 35.9 billion won ($33.19 million) worth of shares on the mainboard.

The won was quoted at 1,080.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.52 per cent higher than its previous close and the strongest since June 12, 2018.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,081.4 per dollar, up 0.3 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading, its one-month contract was quoted at 1,080.5.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.02 points to 111.49.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 0.2 basis points to 0.972 per cent.

($1 = 1,081.5900 won)

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