SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened higher Wednesday, helped by expectations of a fast economic recovery from the pandemic.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.76 points, or 0.21 percent, to 3,178.08 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Stocks advanced despite the overnight losses on Wall Street, as local economists increasingly speculate that the central bank may raise its 2021 growth forecast to some 4 percent this week.

A strong 41.1 percent jump in April exports fanned such optimism, along with brokerage forecasts for an increase in global demand for chips and autos.

Top cap Samsung Electronics added 0.63 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix traded flat.

Internet portal operator Naver moved up 1.4 percent, while pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics shed 0.49 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem slumped 3.92 percent, but top automaker Hyundai Motor increased 0.22 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,121.75 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.25 won from the previous session’s close.