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South Korean Bonds Advance on China’s Manufacturing Concern

South Korea’s government bonds rose for the first time in three days as a private gauge signaled Chinese factory output shrank for the third straight month.

A preliminary reading showed the Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics for South Korea’s biggest export market dropped to 48.1 in March, compared with the 48.7 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Levels below 50 indicate contraction. South Korea’s bonds fell last week as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen outlined a timeframe for possible U.S. interest-rate increases.

The yield on the 3.125 percent sovereign notes due March 2019 dropped one basis point to close at 3.18 percent in Seoul, Korea Exchange Inc. prices show. The yield rose six basis points last week.

“The bond market strengthened on news from China,” said Yoo Hyun Chul, a fixed-income trader for Shinhan Investment Corp. in Seoul. “Still, there are limits to the bond market being supported further as it seems investors are expecting China’s economy to deteriorate gradually, and the focus is also on the Fed’s stance on interest rates.”

North Korea fired 46 short-range rockets over the weekend, Yonhap news reported, citing the South’s military authorities. All the missiles fell into the sea, the report said. The Kospi index of shares rose as overseas funds net purchased local equities for the first time in two weeks.

The won strengthened for the first time in five days, gaining 0.2 percent to 1,077.82 per dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. One-month implied volatility, a gauge of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, climbed four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 7.93 percent.

“With not much momentum in the market to push the dollar-won exchange rate upwards, sales of the greenback by local exporters supported the won,” Han Sung Min, a currency trader at Busan Bank in Seoul.

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