SEOUL, May 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks extended losses late Friday morning on fears that a dispute between the United States and China may further hurt the country's exports amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 13.81 points, or 0.69 percent, to 1,984.50 as of 11:20 a.m.
The index got off to a weak start, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street where a brewing U.S.-China dispute spooked investors.
U.S. President Donald Trump again blamed China for the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it was the "incompetence of China" that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands throughout the world and adding a "wacko" in China was making false claims blaming others.
The U.S. and China are South Korea's two largest trading partners.
South Korea's exports had dipped for 14 consecutive months since December 2018 amid the prolonged trade dispute between the world's largest economies that came to an initial end at the start of this year.
Most large caps traded lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipped 1.7 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix plunged 2.16 percent.
Top chemical maker LG Chem added 0.53 percent, while leading carmaker Hyundai Motor tumbled 1.44 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,235.45 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.55 won from the previous session's close.
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