SEOUL: South Korean shares rose to an all-time high on Friday after the Bank of Korea upgraded its economic outlook, boosting investor confidence. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 0.7 per cent at 2,489.54 points, a record closing high. For the week, the index rose 0.6 per cent, marking its fifth straight weeks of gains. Offshore investors bought a net 161.5 billion won ($142.81 million) worth of local equities on the day. Shares of major tech firms were in hot demand, with Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix rising 1.6 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively. Shares of Korea Electric Power Corp rose 0.6 per cent after a government-organized committee recommended the resumption of construction on a nuclear power plant, which had been halted in June. KEPCO Engineering & Construction lost 1.2 per cent and KEPCO Plant Service rose 1.7 per cent.
The South Korean won edged up, supported by foreign inflows into stocks. The won was quoted at 1,131.0 to the dollar at the conclusion of onshore trade, up 0.1 per cent from Thursday’s close of 1,132.4. The currency shed 0.2 per cent on a weekly basis. Korea Treasury Bond futures fell 0.18 of a point after a 0.24 point drop on Thursday, as many traders believed BOK could raise rates sooner than expected. The Bank of Korea kept policy unchanged on Thursday but raised its 2017 economic growth forecast to 3 per cent from 2.8 per cent, boosting expectations for an interest rate hike as soon as November.