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Financial firms to feel limited impact from Egyptian riots: watchdog

 Anti-government protests in Egypt will likely have a limited impact on South Korean financial companies in light of their minimal exposure to the North African country, the financial regulator said Monday.

   As of the end of September, domestic financial companies owned no securities of or loans to Egypt and their borrowing from the country reached only US$6 million, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said in a statement.

   "Due to minimal exposure to and borrowing from Egypt, the country's political unrest will have only limited impact over the health of local financial companies," the FSS noted.

   The comments came as massive street riots erupted in Egypt, calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak who governed the country for three decades. The mass protest was launched last week and continued into Monday to demand the establishment of a new government as well as people's freedom.

   The political unrest in the most populous country of the Arab world caused stock market falls in most Asian countries Monday and drove down emerging countries' currencies after spurring risk-averse sentiment.

   "In order to shield against any possible spread of the political unrest into other Islamic oil-producing countries, we will step up monitoring of local markets to prevent volatility," the regulator said.

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