The South Korean won was the “top-performing Asian currency” against the U.S. dollar in the first half of this year. Bloomberg on Wednesday called it “missile-proof” because it withstood the impact of North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
“Just over halfway through the year… the currency is up 7.8 percent against the dollar, making it the top performer in Asia”, Bloomberg said.
It did not start the year “looking like a winner — with the U.S. raising interest rates and tensions rising with its nuclear-armed neighbor”, it added, and had been weak for the past three years.
But the 7.8 percent rise against the dollar is higher than the currencies of Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries. In spite of North Korea’s ICBM launch earlier this month, the won remained about three percent above last year’s high.
Currency traders said booming exports, which led to a growing current account surplus, sent global funds flocking to buy Korean stocks and bonds. “And, with a new president pledging to spread the nation’s wealth and dynamism beyond the conglomerates known as chaebol that have long dominated the economy, some are betting there’s more appreciation to come”, Bloomberg said.