South Korean shares fell on Thursday as the country’s daily virus infections touched near their highest level since pandemic began, outweighing optimism around central banks’ policy support and hopes of a U.S. stimulus package.
The Korean won strengthened, while the benchmark bond yield rose.
South Korea reported 1,014 new cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday midnight, a day after marking the biggest daily increase of 1,078 new cases.
By 0132 GMT, the benchmark KOSPI fell 15.89 points, or 0.57%, to 2,755.90.
Local coronavirus wave is weighing on investor sentiment, while the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting result came in just as expected, said Shin Joong-ho, an analyst at eBest Investment & Securities.
The Fed said it would stick with its policy of low interest rates, while legislators moved closer to agreeing on an additional $900 billion of COVID-19 aid, including $600 to $700 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits.
South Korea’s central bank said it has agreed to renew an existing currency swap agreement with the Fed by another six months to at least Sept. 30, 2021.
Foreigners were net sellers of 204.0 billion won ($186.69 million) worth of shares on the main board.
The won was quoted at 1,092.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , up 0.13%.
In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,092.5 per dollar, while in non-deliverable forward trading, its one-month contract was quoted at 1,091.7.
In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.02 points to 111.43.
The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 0.6 basis point to 0.994%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 3.3 basis points to 1.719%. ($1 = 1,092.7400 won)