Korea Won Rises on Speculation Exporters Sold Dollar; Bonds Gain

South Korea’s won gained for the first time in three days on speculation exporters repatriated earnings to take advantage of the local currency’s declines this month. Government bonds advanced.

The currency climbed after a U.S. report showed yesterday that consumer confidence in the world’s largest economy rose to an eight-month high in December, tempering concern the global recovery is stalling. The won fell 1.1 percent this month, boosting the value of overseas earnings.

“The won gained in the final hour of trading on dollar selling orders from exporters,” said Nam Kyung Tae, a Seoul-based currency dealer with Industrial Bank of Korea. “Trading volume was low with exchange rates barely moving during the day, and small orders led to big price changes.”

The won climbed 0.3 percent to 1,155.61 per dollar in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched a one-week low of 1,160.09 yesterday. The currency has fallen 2.6 percent so far this year, set for its first decline since 2008.

A measure of South Korean manufacturers’ confidence fell to the lowest level since July 2009, central bank data showed today.

The nation’s financial regulator is boosting its monitoring of market speculation related to North Korea, Financial Supervisory Service spokeswoman Kim Soo Mi said today. North Korea today lays to rest Kim Jong Il, who developed nuclear weapons while more than 1 million of his people starved to death.

The yield on the 3.5 percent bonds due September 2016 fell one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 3.51 percent, according to Korea Exchange Inc. prices. Benchmark five-year rates dropped 57 basis points this year, set for a second annual decline, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

South Korea’s currency trading market will be closed on Dec. 30, according to the Seoul Foreign Exchange Market Committee. It will open one hour later than usual on Jan. 2 at 10 a.m. while closing as usual at 3 p.m.

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