Won Rises to Nine-Month High on Fed Stimulus Bets; Bonds Climb

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s won rose to the strongest level since January as U.S. employers added fewer jobs than forecast, bolstering the case for the Federal Reserve to delay cutting its debt purchases. Government bonds gained.

South Korea should closely monitor and prepare for changes in external conditions, including any stimulus reduction by the Fed, Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong Soo said in Seoul today. U.S. employers added 148,000 workers last month, trailing the 180,000 forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Global funds have pumped $12.1 billion into local stocks since Aug. 22, the last day of net sales, exchange data show.

“The main news of the day was the worse-than-expected U.S. jobs data, which affirmed the consensus that the Fed taper will be delayed,” said Son Eun Jeong, a currency analyst at Woori Futures Co. in Seoul. “The won led the rally among emerging currencies as foreign inflows continued.”

The currency advanced 0.5 percent to 1,056.18 per dollar in Seoul and touched 1,055.04, the strongest level since Jan. 15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, dropped 31 basis points, or 0.31 percentage point, to 5.69 percent.

The Fed refrained in September from reducing its $85 billion of monthly asset purchases, saying it wanted to see more evidence of an economic recovery. The U.S. central bank will hold off from tapering until March, according to economists in a Bloomberg survey on Oct. 17-18. A poll last month forecast the first reduction would be in December.

The yield on South Korea’s 2.75 percent sovereign bonds due June 2016 declined five basis points to 2.79 percent, the lowest level since June, 18, according to Korea Exchange Inc. prices.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yewon Kang in Seoul at ykang51@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Regan at jregan19@bloomberg.net