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The won is stronger, USD/KRW dropping sharply at the open, coming off 2021 highs around 1155.00, last trading down 4.75 at 1150.35. 25-delta risk reversals have fallen from July highs of 0.725 to 0.55 and crossed the 50-DMA since the middle of last week.
- On the coronavirus front South Korea reported 1,365 new cases, down from record highs above 1,800. In their fight against the fourth wave of the pandemic, health authorities worry that the virus curve may not have hit its peak yet, as the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 is becoming the dominant strain in the country amid increased activities in the summer vacation season. To stem the spread of the virus, South Korea extended the highest Level 4 distancing measures in the Seoul metropolitan area for another two weeks through Aug. 8, level 3 containment measures were put in place for places outside the capital today.
- Data earlier showed GDP rose slightly below estimates at 0.7% M/M, consensus 0.8%, potentially putting the BoK's 4% growth target at risk. BoK's Park crossed the wires following the data and said that there were no fears over growth later in the year. Policymakers last week passed another supplementary budget for KRW 34.9tn, which is estimated to add between 0.15-0.20ppts to GDP, policymakers have adduced fiscal stimulus as a tool to protect the economy. The government also unveiled tax breaks for strategically important industries, including the chip industry, yesterday.
- Markets await June retail sales data later in the session, the data is likely to show the effects of lockdowns enacted during the survey period.