South Korea’s won strengthened to a 13-month high on speculation exporters sold dollars to convert their overseas earnings as the month-end nears. Government bonds were little changed.
Government reports due this week are forecast to show industrial production increased in September by the most in three months, while exports shrank 0.5 percent in October from a year earlier after a 2 percent contraction the previous month, according to separate Bloomberg surveys. The Bank of Japan meets tomorrow after unexpectedly expanding its asset-purchase fund on Sept. 19.
“It was a slow trading day, and the won’s gains were pushed mostly by South Korean exporters selling the greenback to convert currency ahead of Japan’s central bank meeting,” said Jude Noh, a Seoul-based chief currency trader at Suhyup Bank. Japanese “policy makers may announce further monetary stimulus,” which will strengthen the won further, he said.
The won climbed 0.1 percent to 1,095.90 per dollar at the close in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency touched 1,094.50 earlier, the strongest level since Sept. 14, 2011. One-month implied volatility for the won, a measure of exchange-rate swings used to price options, fell 18 basis points, or 0.18 percentage point, to 5.72 percent.
South Korean exporters are facing difficulties because of the won’s gains, President Lee Myung Bak said today, according to the transcript of a speech broadcast on radio. Manufacturers’ confidence fell for the second straight month, a central bank report showed. An index measuring expectations for November fell to 70 from 72 in October, the Bank of Korea said in a statement in Seoul. Any number below 100 indicates that pessimists outnumber optimists.
The yield on the government’s 2.75 percent bonds due September 2017 was steady at 2.86 percent, Korea Exchange Inc. prices show. The one-year interest-rate swap was little changed at 2.74 percent.