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Korea's stock market suffers 6 pct decline over coronavirus woes

All News 10:32 February 02, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's stock market has plummeted nearly 6 percent since the first new coronavirus case was confirmed in the country, data showed Sunday, as the deadly virus is increasingly feared to pose downside risks to the global financial market and economic growth.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) has fallen 5.8 percent since Jan. 17, the last session before the country reported its first case of the novel virus.

The virus has killed more than 300 people in China so far, with the number of those infected nearly 15,000. Fifteen cases had been reported in South Korea as of Sunday.

A worker wearing a mask looks at data at KEB Hana Bank in downtown Seoul on Jan. 31, 2020. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 28.99 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 2,119.01 on the day as concerns over the new coronavirus outbreak deepened. (Yonhap)

Seoul shares plunged more than 3 percent Tuesday, the first trading session after the Jan. 24-27 Lunar New Year's holiday, marking the sharpest drop in more than a year.

Consumer goods manufacturers, which are mostly reliant on Chinese visitors, were among the major victims, with shares in cosmetics giant AmorePacific nose-diving 20.51 percent over the period. LG Household & Health Care, another household goods maker, also dipped 10.53 percent.

Duty-free operators lost ground as well, with Hotel Shilla moving down 19.45 percent and Shinsegae dropping 16.69 percent.

Airline operators, which already have been suffering from a boycott of Japanese goods and services here amid the monthslong Seoul-Tokyo trade feud, dropped nearly 12 percent on average.

Analysts said the stock market may face a further slump if economic fallout from the virus worsens.

South Korea has been claiming the novel virus has not had a significant impact on its economy yet, although it will continue to monitor the global economy and financial markets, and take preemptive action if necessary.

The central bank also hinted it is not considering rate cuts at the moment to cope with the growing economic uncertainties stemming from the virus.

colin@yna.co.kr
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