The won was trading stronger by the end of Asian trading, to 901.55 won vs. the dollar from 903.55, hurting exporters like Posco (PKX - Get Report), which was surging last week. Posco shares dipped 2.8%, to 627,000 won.
Inflation in Korea was up 3% on the year in October vs. an expected 2.7%, and the fastest rate since August 2005. Trade surplus was also down on the month, to $2.2 billion vs. $2.35 billion in September.
Still, exports rose 24.2% on the year in October, their highest gain since November 2004, while exports to China gained 33.1% on the year.
Elsewhere in Asia, patterns were similar. In Thailand, inflation rose to 2.5%, higher than the expected rate of 2.1% and the country's fastest increase since January.In Japan, the Nikkei gained 132 points, or 0.79%, to 16,870 points, while the Topix rose 15.71 points, or 0.9%, to 1,635 points, led by energy stocks like Nippon Oil, which leapt 4.15%, to 1,053 yen. Exporters Sony (SNE - Get Report), Canon (CAJ - Get Report), and Honda (HMC - Get Report) rose as much as 3.36% on a weaker yen. The carry trade is slowly regaining favor, as the yen has lost 1.5% this week vs. the dollar. At the end of Asia trading, the dollar was buying 115.79 yen vs. a low of 114.2 on Monday. A weakening yen is usually seen as a bullish measure for Asian equities in general, since it signals investors are using cheap Japanese debt to buy up shares elsewhere in the region.