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KRW

The won strengthened at the open, benefitting from a weaker greenback. USD/KRW down 5.15 at 1127.00, the lowest since Friday last week.

  • Data earlier showed PPI rose 5.6% Y/Y in April compared to the 3.9% rise in March, the April print denoted the biggest gain since 2011 and was attributed to higher commodity prices.
  • Other data showed exports rose 53.3% in the first 20 days of May, compared to 45.4% in the April period. Imports rose 36.0%. Chip exports were again one of the main drivers of the increase with gains of 26%, but a low base effect saw car exports rise 146% with car parts up 221.0%. In terms of geography the data shows the recovery advancing in the US and Europe with exports up 87.3% and 78.1% respectively, while China saw a 25.2% rise and Japan a 30.6% rise.
  • South Korean President Moon met with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders Thursday, a day ahead of his summit with US President Biden. Mainly discussed were issues related to the bilateral alliance and North Korea, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and economic partnerships. Moon will hold one-on-one talks with US President Biden on Friday with talks expected to focus on North Korea, COVID-19 vaccines and global supply chain resilience. It will mark their first face-to-face summit, though they already had a phone conversation and a virtual meeting. The summit's outcome is expected to heavily affect the overall SK-US relationship at least over the coming year, with Moon's tenure slated to finish in May 2022.
  • On the coronavirus front South Korea will extend its current social distancing measures for another three weeks. "The number of new daily average patients as of late remains in the 500 level, not budging below that point, and infections are continuing from all quarters in our daily lives," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said. South Korea reported 561 cases in the past 24 hours.

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