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Jawboning the Won: Decoding Comments by Korean Policy Makers

  • Stronger currency cuts into profits of South Korean exporters
  • But officials are wary of overstepping the mark with Trump
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Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

As South Korea’s won trades near multi-year highs amid steady economic growth and easing geopolitical tensions, policy makers in Seoul have stepped up their commentary on foreign exchange.

The won appreciated 13 percent against the dollar in 2017 and reached more than a three-year high earlier this month, curbing earnings at exporters including Samsung Electronics Co. But both analysts and traders point to a change in Seoul’s response to the unwanted moves in the currency, with policy makers more restrained in their comments than in the past and less large-scale intervention in the market.