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Won-Dollar Rate Hits 1,500 for 1st Time since `98

Posted November. 25, 2008 03:07,   


The Korean won yesterday fell to its lowest value against the U.S. dollar in nearly 11 years by breaking the 1,500 barrier, and the currency also plummeted against the Japanese yen.

On the Seoul foreign exchange market, the won-dollar exchange rate increased 18 points from the previous trading day to close at 1,513, the first time that the rate closed at the 1,500 level since March 13, 1998, when Korea was hit by the Asian currency crisis.

Experts blamed the won`s plummet on foreign investors remitting dollars and foreign net selling of Korean stocks worth more than 80 billion won (52 million U.S. dollars). The won was also negatively affected by the government`s ruling out of market intervention and North Korea`s plan to suspend tours to the border city of Gaesong.

A foreign exchange trader said, "The U.S. government`s rescue plan for Citigroup seemed to stabilize the foreign exchange market, but with the Korean government showing no attempt to stabilize the market in the afternoon, the won further weakened."

The won-yen rate reached 1,581.98 per 100 yen yesterday, the weakest for the Korean currency against the yen since the Korean government began compiling the statistic in 1991.