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Seoul stocks open sharply lower on virus outbreak concerns

All News 09:21 February 10, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks opened sharply lower Monday amid fears that the new coronavirus outbreak may delay the country's economic recovery.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 30.25 points, or 1.37 percent, in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The local stock market began to fluctuate after the country reported its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus late last month.

South Korea has so far reported 27 confirmed cases.

The outbreak may slow down the country's economic growth, partly by limiting its outbound shipments to China, where most confirmed cases have been reported. China is South Korea's largest trading partner, accounting for roughly 20 percent of its exports in total.

South Korea's exports have dropped for 14 consecutive months since December 2018.

Most large caps were in negative terrain.

Market bellwether Samsung electronics plunged 1.99 percent, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor tumbling 1.15 percent.

Top chemical maker LG Chem slipped 0.78 percent, while steel giant POSCO lost 2.69 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,193.85 won against the U.S. dollar, down 7.35 won from the previous session's close.


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