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Seoul shares open lower ahead of BOK rate decision

An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks opened lower Wednesday as investors awaited the Bank of Korea (BOK)’s decision on the policy rate later in the day amid woes over a global economic recession.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 7.74 points, or 0.35 percent, to 2,184.33 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

South Korea’s central bank will decide on whether to deliver another outsized rate hike to combat inflation.

The BOK has been lifting its policy rate since August last year, including an unprecedented big-step hike of 50 basis points in July.

Overnight, Wall Street closed mixed ahead of several key inflation reports out later in the week, with the S&P 500 slipping 0.65 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.12 percent. The Nasdaq Composite declined 1.1 percent, hitting the lowest point since July 2020.

In Seoul, most shares opened mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 1.62 percent, and chip giant SK hynix gained 1.77 percent.

Carmakers traded lower, with top automaker Hyundai Motor sinking 0.89 percent and its affiliate Kia falling 0.15 percent.

Major chemical firm LG Chem went down 2.18 percent, and battery maker LG Energy Solutions lost 2.31 percent.

The Korean won was trading at 1,433.60 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., up 1.6 won from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)

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