(Adds market reaction, deputy minister comments, c.bank meeting)
SEOUL, Aug 6 (Reuters) – South Korea’s finance ministry said on Tuesday it is monitoring markets closely and would act quickly if volatility becomes excessive.
The central bank is also meeting to assess the market situation.
Global stocks extended already steep losses on Tuesday after the U.S. Treasury designated China a currency manipulator, heightening trade tensions between the two countries.
South Korea’s financial markets have already been shaken by sluggish exports and Japan’s export curbs.
“The government will take quick and bold market stabilisation measures if volatility in financial markets excessively rises,” Deputy Finance Minister Bahng Ki-sun said.
When asked whether South Korea would be affected by the U.S. decision, another Deputy Minister Kim Hoe-jeong told reporters that South Korea will not be affected and added that the nation’s situation is different from China.
The won fell to a near 3-1/2 year low against dollar early on Tuesday, while the benchmark KOSPI stock index fell to its lowest trading level since Feb 2016.
When asked about won’s exchange rate with the yuan, Deputy Minister Kim said the ministry was “closely monitoring won coupling with yuan,” but added that it is not targeting a specific currency level.
However, soon after trading started at 0000 GMT, Korean authorities were suspected to have sold dollars to curb weakness in won, two dealers told Reuters. (Reporting by Joori Roh, Yuna Park additional reporting by Yena Park; Editing by Sam Holmes and Neil Fullick)