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Won Higher, Data Stronger


The won is stronger today, opening higher against the USD after broad declines in the greenback. USD/KRW last down 3.20 at 1122.75, still well within recent ranges.

  • Data earlier showed unemployment fell for second month in March, though the decline was smaller than the 1.4ppts seen in February after the government resumed its public sector jobs programme. The March print came in at 4.0% from 3.9% previously, in line with estimates. The gains are attributed to bumper exports and robust consumer confidence translating to domestic demand. The print represents the first gain in jobs since the start of the pandemic.
  • Elsewhere, South Korea's export prices rose in March, marking the fourth straight monthly gain amid a modest recovery in exports. Export prices rose 5.6% in March, while import prices rose 9%.
  • Meanwhile, the IMF have commented on South Korean debt levels warning that while the current rise in debt due to the pandemic is manageable, it needs to closely consider its future spending plans to ensure its debt burden doesn't become unmanageable as the population ages. South Korea's government debt load is projected to jump from 53.2% of gross domestic product this year to 69.7% by 2026.

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