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Seoul: Stocks have worst day in nearly 10 yrs as virus fear persists

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The benchmark KOSPI closed down 81.24 points, or 4.86 per cent, to 1,591.20, marking the biggest daily fall since November 2011 and the sixth straight losing streak.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares tumbled nearly 5 per cent on Wednesday to hit their lowest close since May 2010 as fears over the rapid spread of the coronavirus and its fallout on the global economy eclipsed the global stimulus packages. 

The benchmark KOSPI closed down 81.24 points, or 4.86 per cent, to 1,591.20, marking the biggest daily fall since November 2011 and the sixth straight losing streak.

KOSPI lost a combined 19 per cent during the six sessions, the worst sell-off since late October 2008, while it has fallen 27.60 per cent so far this year.

Foreigners sold around net US$469.11 million worth of shares on the main board.

"The market has been increasingly concerned about huge fiscal deficit which could be caused by reckless bond issuance from major economies as part of global stimulus efforts, fuelling risk-averse sentiment," said Seo Jung-hun, an analyst at Samsung Securities.

The nation's government announced it will loosen one of its key foreign exchange rules to encourage banks to supply more dollars in local markets.

South Korea reported 93 new virus cases on Wednesday, slightly up from 84 the day before and raising the national tally to 8,413.

REUTERS