Net profit for the January-March period fell 2.2 percent to 1.98 trillion won (USD 1.83 billion), compared with 2.03 trillion won a year ago, the company said in a statement.

Chief Financial Officer Lee Won-Hee attributed the result - which still beat the 1.71 trillion won predicted by 23 analysts surveyed by a media firm - to a "dramatic" weakening of the Russian and Brazilian currencies against the Korean won.

"Demand in these markets also slowed considerably, dealing a blow to our margins," he told a conference call.

Hyundai books some 85 percent of its sales overseas, so the strength of the won against other currencies can slash the value of the firm's profits at home.

Sales of its Russian and Brazilian plants calculated in the Korean currency dropped 41.2 percent and 11.2 percent from a year ago.

Lee said company had been trying to "offset the impact of currency swings in the emerging markets by raising prices...and trying to secure as much auto components locally as possible".

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