South Korean stocks got off to a weak start Wednesday as an uptick in global oil prices and US federal bank officials' comments suggesting more interest rate hikes in the future renewed inflation concerns.
After starting marginally lower, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index was moving almost flat, or down 2.32 points, at 2,579.86 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
Fed Gov. Christopher Waller said Tuesday the Fed has room to proceed carefully with its monetary tightening as recent economic data showed signs of inflation easing.
Federal Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said the Fed may need to raise the interest rate further.
Wall Street closed lower as investors assessed the Fed officials' remarks, along with the gains in oil prices that followed after the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries Plus extended supply cuts.
In Seoul, tech behemoth Samsung Electronics fell 0.6 percent. Chipmaker SK hynix slid 0.5 percent, and battery maker Samsung SDI shed nearly 1 percent.
Battery materials maker Posco Future M rose 0.9 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor added about 0.2 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,332.40 won against the US dollar, down 1.8 won from Tuesday's close. (Yonhap)