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North Korea Tensions, Softer PMI, Limit Won Gains


Spot USD/KRW has remained fairly elevated, last at 1436. Dips sub 1430 have been supported in recent sessions, while moves above 1440/45 could draw selling interest. The equity impulse is firmer, following firm tech gains overnight (+2.44% for the session) and above 2208 in index terms. A stronger USD against the majors, coupled with North Korean tensions, are offsetting to a degree.

  • The PMI for September eased further to 47.3, from 47.6. This likely hasn't helped sentiment either. The detail was generally softer (output down to 43.1, from 44.6), although new orders rose from August.
  • The chart below plots the average PMI readings for South Korea and Taiwan (which printed yesterday at 42.2) against global trade volumes. The trade metric has been resilient, although note this print is only up to date for July.
  • Elsewhere, South Korea is considering raising sanctions on North Korea following this morning's missile test.
  • The Finance Minister stated that lowering inflation is the top policy priority. The upcoming BoK decision is next Wednesday (the 12th of October).
  • The authorities are also looking at incentives for local residents to repatriate funds back into the won (see this link for more details).

Fig 1: South Korea & Taiwan PMIs Versus Global Trade Volumes

Source: MNI - Market News/Bloomberg

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