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Forex Flash: Korean Won continues to underperform – BBH

Brown Brothers Harriman analysts note that the Korean Won has continued to underperform despite today´s trade data surprising to the upside.

Exports rose 11.8% y/y in January while imports rose 3.9% y/y, both higher than expected. January CPI came in on expectations at 1.5% y/y. They team feel that the weakening Won is driven by a combination of factors.

Firstly, official guidance in response to the weaker yen policy, secondly, expectations for further BOK easing, and finally, equity outflows. On the last issues they note that Korea experienced a $1.7 bln equity outflows YTD, as measured by Bloomberg, in contrast with sizeable inflows into other major Asian countries. Japan is up $9.5 bln YTD (in spite of JPY weakness), India is up $3.9 bln, Philippines is up $0.6 bln, and even Indonesia is up $0.6 bln despite the troubled IDR. They finish by writing “We don’t see elements changing just yet and think the won can continue to under perform.”

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