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South Korea Extends Social Distancing Measures


The won is stronger today, holding Thursday's gains and USD/KRW sits around the strongest levels since June 19 at 1141.80, down 1.95 on the session.

  • On the coronavirus front there were 1,704 new cases in the past 24 hours, in the 1,700s for a third day. It was reported earlier that South Korea will extend its tough social distancing restrictions for two more weeks through Aug. 22. Officials also warned they will not tolerate illicit street rallies reportedly scheduled on the Aug. 15 Liberation Day.
  • Data earlier showed a current account surplus for the fourteenth straight month, though the surplus did narrow slightly to $8.874bn. The June surplus came as exports remained robust and dividend income from Korean firms' overseas units increased. The goods balance logged a surplus of $7.62bn in June, larger than a surplus of $6.37bn the previous month.
  • South Korean assets remain supported despite the announcement that the BoK's most pronounced hawk would step down to join the FSC. Consensus seems to be that even though Koh was only one who voted for a 25bps hike at the July meeting, the other MPC members seem to be similarly hawkish. No successor has been named so the BoK will hold its August meeting with six members.

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