SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened higher Thursday, following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s reiteration that rates would remain at near-zero through 2023.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 32.5 points, or 1.07 percent, to 3,080 points as of 9:23 a.m.

Stocks started strong as the results from a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting partially soothed market concerns of earlier-than-expected post-pandemic inflation.

In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics advanced 1.22 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 2.86 percent.

Giant internet portal operator Naver climbed 1.83 percent, and its rival Kakao increased 1.03 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics moved up 1.25 percent, with Celltrion rising 1.53 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem added 0.93 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor went up 1.94 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,122.2 won against the U.S. dollar, up 8 won from the previous session’s close.