March 2, 2018 / 7:17 AM / 6 months ago

S.Korea steelmakers buckle on US tariffs, won edges up

    * KOSPI pares some of its earlier losses
    * Steel shares are hammered by Trump's tariff plans
    * Markets worry trade pact could be re-negotiated-analyst

 (Updates with closing level, weekly milestone)
    SEOUL, March 2 (Reuters) - South Korean shares fell to a
three-week low on Friday as President Donald Trump's plan to
slap heavy tariffs on steel products hit materials stocks and
sparked deeper fears about a global trade war.
    Trump said on Thursday he would impose hefty tariffs on
imported steel and aluminium to protect U.S. producers, a move
that would risk retaliation from major trade partners.
            
    South Korea is the third-largest steel exporter to the
United States after Canada and Brazil, and said it will keep
talking to U.S. officials until Washington's plans for tariffs
are finalised.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)         closed
down 1 percent at 2,402.16 points, its lowest level since Feb.
13. The benchmark index fell 2 percent for the week, snapping
gains from the past two weeks.
    Market heavyweight steelmaker Posco             fell more
than 3.6 percent to a three-week low, while Hyundai Steel
            and Dongkuk Steel             slumped 2.9 percent
and 5.1 percent.
    Seoul has already launched a wide-ranging complaint at the
World Trade Organization to challenge the U.S. use of
anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties, which is already affecting
South Korea's steel products, a WTO filing showed last month.
    Analysts said the issue could be the start of
re-negotiations of a trade pact between South Korea and the
United States.
    Auto shares and some tech shares were also hurt.
    Automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor             slumped
3.4 percent. Tech giant Samsung Electronics             ended
trade down 2.2 percent.
    Foreign investors extended their net selling, offloading
232.9 billion Korean won ($215.52 million) worth of KOSPI shares
for the day.
    The South Korean won       , however, inched up despite
anxieties over trade as the currency reacted more to the
greenback's weakness in the global markets. 
    The won            was quoted at 1,080.3 to the dollar, up
0.2 percent from its previous close at 1,082.8.
    March futures on three-year treasury bonds         lost 0.16
points to 107.57.     
    
For a round up of market news, please see our daily Asia Morning
Call report            

 (Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Kim Coghill)
  
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