South Korean currency, stocks rattle

Seoul, Jan 6 (IANS) South Korea’s currency and stocks were rattled on Wednesday by an unexpected nuclear test by North Korea, but the negative impact from the test was limited.

The South Korean won finished at 1,197.9 won per US dollar, down 9.9 won from Tuesday’s close. It marked the lowest in four months, Xinhua reported.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) declined 5.1 points, or 0.26 percent, to 1,925.43 at the close.

The decline came as North Korea announced the success of its first hydrogen bomb test, raising worries about the geopolitical risks.

The stocks and currency, however, pared earlier losses on lessons from the past experience that such geopolitical risks had lasted for only a short period.

Financial Services Commission (FSC) chairman Yim Jong-Yong said the impact, which geopolitical risks had on the South Korean financial market, was limited and temporary given the past experience after Pyongyang’s missile firings and nuclear tests.

The top financial regulator said Wednesday’s nuclear test would not have a large impact on the currency and stock markets given the past experiences.

The country’s economy and finance ministries and agencies launched a 24-hour monitoring system to address the possible side effects from the nuclear test.

The finance ministry, the central bank, and the financial regulator held an emergency meeting, agreeing to such a 24-hour monitoring system launch.

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